The Republican Party is urging Missouri representative Todd Akin to drop out of the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Claire McCaskill after saying in an interview Sunday that pregnancy was rare in the cases of “legitimate rape.”
Akin's words spread like wildfire, causing the National Republican Senatorial Committee to pull more than $5 million in promised support in the form of advertising and campaign finances this fall, The New York Times reports. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney also quickly distanced himself from Akin's statements, calling them "insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong."
Akin later backtracked and issued an apology (video below) for his comments. "Rape is never legitimate," he said, and added, "I also know that people do become pregnant from rape. I didn't mean to imply that that wasn't the case."
According to The Washington Post, the party is strategizing ways to push Akin out of the race before next week's convention in Tampa, Fla. However, as late as Monday, Akin appeared to be digging in and said he is "not a quitter." The nominee has until the end of Tuesday to pull out of the race for Missouri's Senate seat. If he chooses to leave the race, state Republican leaders can then submit a replacement nominee. If he does not leave the ballot by the end of today, he would have until September 25 to petition the court, requesting to be removed from the ballot. If he remains on through the 25th, he will then automatically appear on the ballot. Missouri is reportedly one of the most difficult states in which to replace a candidate after he or she has been nominated.
Akin was one of the most staunch opponents of repealing "don't ask, don't tell," and since the policy's repeal, he submitted an amendment to the 2013 defense authorization bill to create a “statutory conscience protection clause” for military personnel, including chaplains, who object to open service. Also, as reported earlier, he sponsored an amendment to prohibit the use of military installations, such as bases, for same-sex weddings in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act, and to require that military chaplains officiate only ceremonies that comply with DOMA.