Missouri Rep. Todd Akin apologized Monday for his televised comments that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancies in "a legitimate rape" situation, but he refused to heed calls to abandon his bid for the Senate. (Aug. 20)
Rumors were flying Monday afternoon that Rep. Todd Akin would resign his candidacy after causing a firestorm of controversy with his "legitimate rape" comments on Sunday. A senior Republican official told Buzzfeed's Ben Smith that Akin is planning to withdraw his Senate candidacy at 5:00 pm tomorrow. The source said Akin may still change his mind, however, and Smith cites another source who throws cold water on the speculation. Meanwhile, conservative blogger Erick Erickson and former Mitt Romney foreign policy adviser Richard Grenell both wrote on Twitter that Akin would resign.
Somebody better tell the candidate, however. Akin wrote on Twitter while the rumors were flying that he is "in this race to win," and called on supporters to donate to his embattled campaign. He told Sean Hannity Monday afternoon that "we're going to stay in."
Scores of Republican politicians have condemned Akin for saying on Sunday that victims of "legitimate rape" do not need access to legal abortions because they cannot biologically become pregnant. Akin apologized for the statement on Monday but said he wouldn't drop out. "I'm not a quitter," Akin said on Mike Huckabee's radio show. Nonetheless, pressure has been mounting for his withdrawal. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, who runs the Senate Republicans' campaign arm, said in a statement that Akin should carefully consider his candidacy over the next 24 hours, a sentiment echoed by Mitt Romney. An unnamed official told the AP that the NRSC would not spend the $5 million it had set aside for the Missouri race on Akin.
The Republican party can nominate a candidate to replace Akin if he drops out on or before Tuesday. After that date, Akin needs a court order to drop out. The six-term Congressman was by no means the favorite even before his gaffe. His rival, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, spent $2 million during the Republican primary boosting Akin as the "true conservative" because the campaign considered him the weakest potential challenger.
This story has been updated to include additional reporting.