Dear Commons Community,
The national Republican establishment on Monday unleashed a campaign to drive Representative Todd Akin, the party’s newly selected nominee, out of the race against Missouri’s Democratic senator. The New York Times reported:
“Amid an uproar over provocative comments on rape and abortion that Mr. Akin made in an interview broadcast on Sunday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee declared that it would withdraw financial and organizational support for Mr. Akin, including $5 million in advertising already reserved for the fall. In the interview, Mr. Akin said victims of “legitimate rape” rarely got pregnant.
Crossroads GPS, a Republican advocacy group that had already spent more than $5 million to weaken Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, considered the Senate’s most endangered incumbent, announced that it was withdrawing from the state.
At the same time, Republican candidates like Mitt Romney and Senator Scott P. Brown of Massachusetts either called for Mr. Akin to step aside or strongly indicated that he should. In a radio interview, the conservative host Sean Hannity pleaded with Mr. Akin to drop out. “Sometimes an election is bigger than one person,” he said.
But Mr. Akin said on Monday that he would not drop out. “I’m not a quitter,” he said on Mike Huckabee’s radio program. “My belief is we’re going to take this thing forward, and by the grace of God, we’re going to win this race.”
Mr. Akin also backtracked on his comments. “Rape is never legitimate,” he said. “It’s an evil act that’s committed by violent predators. I used the wrong words in the wrong way.”
He added: “I also know that people do become pregnant from rape. I didn’t mean to imply that that wasn’t the case.”
Interestingly, the Huffington Post reported that Akin was effectively tied with Sen. Claire McCaskill, 44 percent to 43 percent, in a poll released Monday night by the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. That’s little different than PPP’s last poll in May, which found Akin leading 45 percent to 44 percent.
The new survey, conducted from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Central time, found that while 75 percent of Missouri voters thought that Akin was inappropriate inhis comments Sunday about “legitimate rape,” they still planned to vote largely among party lines.