Todd Akin is not backing down. Having defied calls to drop out of the Missouri Senate race, Akin’s final deadline to withdraw is today. But he says he will carry on, and Newt Gingrich is rising to his defense.
The embattled congressman has fought for his political future since his comments about “legitimate rape” last month prompted calls from Republican leaders Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for him to quit the race. Akin has since come to enjoy the vocal support of Newt Gingrich, who traveled to Missouri to warn that an Akin loss would dim Republican hopes of a Senate takeover in November. Gingrich says Republicans have a “moral” responsibility to oust the Democratic incumbent, Sen. Claire McCaskill. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has also been an outspoken Akin defender.
The latest polls put Akin at 9 points behind McCaskill, and he has only $500,000 cash on hand, compared to her $3.5 million. But as the GOP plots to win back the Senate, Akin’s backers are holding on to slight hopes of 11th-hour party support to help him edge out a win in November.