2012 ELECTION

Todd Akin not quitting Missouri Senate campaign, vows to fight on

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ST. LOUIS (AP/ABC7) - Rep. Todd Akin has reiterated his intention to stay in the Missouri Senate race after making comments that women's bodies can prevent pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape."

Akin told former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on a Tuesday radio show that he was staying in because there were people who feel they aren't represented by the major political parties.

He also reaffirmed his stand as an anti-abortion lawmaker.

Akin has been frantically trying to salvage his once-promising bid against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill in a race long targeted by the GOP as crucial to regaining control of the Senate.

Ominous signs were mounting against the six-term legislator from suburban St. Louis, most notably the apparent loss of millions of dollars in campaign advertising money.

Early Tuesday, Akin posted a video online in which he apologized but made no mention of the race.

Missouri election law allows candidates to withdraw 11 weeks before Election Day. That means the deadline to exit the Nov. 6 election is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Otherwise, a court order would be needed to remove a name from the ballot. In a radio interview with former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Akin repeatedly apologized for the remarks but also vowed to stay in the race.

"The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I'm not a quitter," Akin said.

The uproar began Sunday, when St. Louis television station KTVI aired an interview in which Akin was asked if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.

"It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that's really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," Akin said.

In the interviews with Huckabee and Sean Hannity, Akin acknowledged that rape can lead to conception. "Rape is never legitimate. It's an evil act. It's committed by violent predators," Akin said. "I used the wrong words the wrong way." But the damage had been done.

The comments drew a sharp rebuke from fellow Republicans, including presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his vice presidential choice, Rep. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin.

The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said Akin's comments might "prevent him from effectively representing" the Republican Party.

He called on Akin to "take time with his family" to consider whether he should continue in the Senate race. Two other Republican senators, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, urged Akin to resign. Akin also apparently lost a key source of funding.

Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Akin that $5 million in advertising set aside for Missouri will be spent elsewhere and that Akin will get no other help from the committee, according to a committee official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the conversation was private.

Cornyn told Akin that he was endangering the GOP's hopes of getting a Senate majority by staying in the race, the official said. Republican frustration grew Tuesday.

Two GOP officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to irritate Akin, said party officials seeking to talk with him were having trouble reaching him Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Akin campaign spokesman Ryan Hite declined Tuesday to reveal Akin's whereabouts but said he was not in his suburban St. Louis campaign office.

The apology video Akin posted on YouTube early Tuesday was an apparent attempt to claw back some of that funding.

"Fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is rape has many victims. The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness," he said in the video.

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