Akin still defiant, won’t quit Senate race

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin answers a question from the panel during a debate among Republican Senate candidate hopefuls at the Lindenwood University J. Scheidegger Center’s Bezemes Family Theater in St. Charles.

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin answers a question from the panel during a debate among Republican Senate candidate hopefuls at the Lindenwood University J. Scheidegger Center’s Bezemes Family Theater in St. Charles. Photo by The Associated Press.

Rep. Todd Akin defied the nation’s top Republicans and refused to abandon a Senate bid that has been hobbled by fallout over his comments that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape.”

Akin took his message to network TV morning shows and conservative talk radio shows, declaring GOP leaders were overreacting by insisting he give up his quest to unseat Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and to social media with appeals for donations on his Twitter feed claiming “liberal elites” are trying to push him out of the race.

Akin predicted he would bounce back from the political crisis threatening his campaign, including a call from presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney to leave the race, and capture a seat that is pivotal to Republican hopes of regaining control of the Senate.

He confirmed that Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan also called to ask him to drop out. But Akin reiterated his decision to stand his ground, saying he refused to be bullied.

“It’s not right for party bosses to override” the voters of Missouri, Akin said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Wednesday. He said he told Ryan that he was thinking things over and that he wants to “do what’s right,” but that he’s not abandoning his race

Nonetheless, he said he would comply with Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus’s request that he not attend the convention, which starts Monday.

But his bid faces tall obstacles — chief among them a lack of money and party support.

In a potential sign of his strategy, Akin appealed Tuesday to Christian evangelicals, anti-abortion activists and anti-establishment Republicans. He said he remains the best messenger to highlight respect for life and liberty that he contends are crumbling under the policies of President Barack Obama.

In a new fundraising appeal Wednesday, Akin asserted “the liberal elite” are trying to “keep a strong, pro-life conservative out of the U.S. Senate.” The email seeking $5 contributions also criticized his own party establishment, saying: “I have learned that many in the political class will duck and run for cover when faced with the slightest bit of adversity.”

If he stays on the ballot, Akin will have to rebuild without any money from the national party and with new misgivings among rank-and-file Republican voters who just two weeks ago propelled him to a comfortable victory in a hotly contested three-way primary.

“I’m in this race for the long haul, and we’re going to win it,” he told radio host Dana Loesch in St. Louis.

Akin posted an online video in which he apologized again for his remarks. Campaign spokesman Ryan Hite said the apology was intended to cover the reference to “legitimate rape” and Akin’s assertion that rape victims have a natural defense against pregnancy. The video will run as a 30-second ad on TV stations statewide for several days, Hite said.

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