Republicans are hoping to maintain control of the House and are working diligently to gain control of the Senate. They are fighting to win enough seats to give them control, making every Senate race very important.
One of those races involves the Senate seat from Missouri currently held by Democrat Claire McCaskill. The GOP primary was held August 7 and Rep Todd Akin handily won the chance to oppose McCaskill for her Senate seat. Many polls at that time indicated that Akin had a good chance to win in November, picking up a key seat for the Republican Party.
On August 19, Akin was being interviewed for a St. Louis television station. When asked if women who were raped and became pregnant should have the option of abortion, Akin responded:
“Well you know, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, well how do you, how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question. 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. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
Instantly, women’s rights group in Missouri and across the nation began attacking Akin and demanding that he apologize and withdraw from the Senate race so they could put another candidate in his place that may have a chance of defeating McCaskill. Many GOP leaders turned against Akin who then appeared in a new campaign ad saying:
“Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that I apologize, As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault, and I pray for them. The 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.”
However, the damage had been done and GOP leadership not only urged Akin to withdraw from the race, but they also cut all party funding from his campaign. Even GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for Akin to drop out of the election, but Akin said he mis-spoke, apologized and the he planned on staying in the race.
This past Tuesday was the deadline for withdrawing from the race and Todd Akin did not withdraw. Since they GOP can no longer replace Akin on the ticket and faced with the importance of winning a Senate seat currently held by a Democrat, the GOP leadership has flip flopped and decided to back Akin’s campaign from here on out.
Rob Jesmer, Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, released the following statement:
“There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country, that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Senator Claire McCaskill.”
“As with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.”
Akin is also starting to regain some of the endorsements he lost over his comment on rape and abortion. Rick Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Jim DeMint are among those that have made statements endorsing Akin’s campaign.
If we forced every politician who says something wrong to withdraw from office or from a political race, there wouldn’t be anyone left in Washington D.C. or most states governments either. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing after all?