ByÂ David Hill-The Washington Times
DefiantÂ Rep. W. Todd AkinÂ of Missouri vowed Tuesday to stay in his stateâ€™sÂ U.S. SenateÂ race as the Republican nominee, letting pass an initial withdrawal deadline despite near-unanimous demands fromÂ Mitt RomneyÂ and a parade of prominent Republicans that he step aside after his insensitive remarks about rape and abortion.
For a third straight day,Â Mr. AkinÂ expressed remorse over his comments during a television interview aired Sunday, in which he explained his opposition to abortion for rape victims by saying that women rarely get pregnant in cases of â€œlegitimate rape.â€ But he stood firm in maintaining that he is the best Republican candidate to take on Democratic incumbentÂ Sen. Claire McCaskillÂ in a race in which his comfortable lead now appears all but gone.
Presumptive Republican presidential nomineeÂ Mitt RomneyÂ joined in calling forÂ Mr. AkinÂ to step aside Tuesday after more Missouri Republicans including U.S.Â Sen. Roy BluntÂ and four former senators urged the congressman to withdraw for the partyâ€™s sake.
â€œTodd Akinâ€™s comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of the country,â€Â Mr. RomneyÂ said in a statement. â€œToday, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit theÂ SenateÂ race.â€
Top Republicans and conservative commentators have piled onÂ Mr. AkinÂ since his comments, threatening to withhold funding from his campaign and accusing him of putting his own aspirations ahead of the partyâ€™s chances of winning the seat, gaining aÂ SenateÂ majority and taking Missouri in the presidential race.
The congressman had until Tuesday evening to drop out of the race with no strings attached, but he must now receive a courtâ€™s permission and pay the cost for printing new ballots if he chooses to withdraw before a Sept. 25 deadline.
If he withdraws, Missouriâ€™sÂ Republican PartyÂ central committee would pick his replacement.
Mr. AkinÂ pledged to stay in the race during an interview Tuesday afternoon on former ArkansasÂ Gov. Mike Huckabeeâ€™s radio show, in which he suggested there has been â€œa little bit of an overreactionâ€ to his comments.
He released a 30-second campaign ad earlier in the day asking the publicâ€™s forgiveness.
â€œThe fact is rape can lead to pregnancy,â€ he said. â€œThe truth is rape has many victims. The mistake I made is in the words I said, not in the heart I hold.â€
To read more, visit:Â Akin vows to stay in Missouri Senate race despite GOP ire – Washington Times
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