Elections

Todd Akin defies calls to withdraw from Mo. Senate race

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter

Defying a deluge of criticism and calls from fellow Republicans to withdraw, Rep. Todd Akin remains in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race and appears to have no plan to withdraw.

“I’m announcing today that we’re going to stay in!” is the latest post on Akin’s Facebook page, dating from Monday evening. Akin made the comment on Sean Hannity’s radio show earlier Monday, adding that he felt he was still the “strongest” candidate to beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

But some members of his party evidently do not feel the same way.

In an interview with WMUR-TV, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney urged Akin to “spend 24 hours considering what will best help the country at this critical time,” according to a tweet from WMUR Political Director Josh McElveen. Romney earlier told National Review Online that Akin’s comments were “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.”

Sen. John Cornyn, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman, advised Akin to spend the “next twenty-four hours” and use them to “consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about and has fought for throughout his career in public service.”

The 24-hour timeline refers to the 5:00 p.m. Tuesday deadline for Akin to withdraw from the race. If he misses the deadline, he can still drop out until September 25, but he would have to get a court order to have his name removed from the ballot.

The NRSC communicated to Akin that they would not support his bid moving forward if he remained a candidate.

He was all but uninvited to the Republican National Convention, when Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Monday on CNN that he “would prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates, and I would prefer him not come.”

The editorial teams of The Wall Street Journal and National Review both called for him to abandon his nomination.

Ann Coulter tweeted a call for him to withdraw: “@ToddAkin: Pls do honorable thing & let Sarah Steelman take your place! Your decision could determine fate of Roe [v. Wade].”

Charles Krauthammer called him “toxic,” during a Fox News Channel appearance, saying “he’s got to leave.”

Tea Party Express also called for Akin to exit the Senate race.

“One of the lessons we learned in 2010 is that we need candidates who are not only conservative, but are capable of putting together a strong campaign against liberal opponents,” said Tea Party Express chairwoman Amy Kremer in a statement. “Akin’s frequent ‘Bidenisms’ are distracting from the important issues at hand.”

Kremer’s group supported Nevada Senate hopeful Sharron Angle in 2010 in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; Angle turned out to be entirely unelectable.

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