Akin (left) and Santorum
Santorum, Perry Endorse Missouri Senate Candidate Todd Akin

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com September 28 2012 2:45 PM ET

Conservative Republican Rick Santorum has endorsed Missouri Senate hopeful Todd Akin, whose campaign seemingly came to a screeching halt when he made controversial remarks about rape-related pregnancies.

Santorum, the antigay former senator from Pennsylvania who ran a close presidential primary race with Mitt Romney this year, sent a joint endorsement with South Carolina senator Jim DeMint Wednesday morning to supporters of Santorum's group, Patriot Voices.

“Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate," the pair wrote. "Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage."

Santorum and DeMint are not the first major Republicans to throw their support behind Akin. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich also campaigned with Akin earlier this week, and Texas governor Rick Perry also said he supports Akin, The Huffington Post reports.

Akin recently criticized his Senate opponent, incumbent Claire McCaskill of not being "ladylike" during their first televised debate, compared to her debates in 2006.

"I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said, according to The Kansas City Star. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike [in 2006], but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, voters favor McCaskill versus Akin 49% to 43%, and a Post-Dispach/Mason-Dixon poll has McCaskill leading with 50% of voters versus Akin's 41%. However, a Public Policy Poll shows them in a dead heat, with 45% of voters favoring McCaskill and 44% favoring Akin.