CHESTERFIELD, Mo. (TheBlaze/AP) — Embattled Missouri Congressman Todd Akin is reaffirming plans to stay in Missouri’s U.S. Senate race despite a political uproar over remarks he made about rape and pregnancy.
Akin held his first press conference in Missouri on Friday since top GOP leaders called on him to get out of the race because of his remarks that aired on a St. Louis TV station five days ago.
He told reporters he’s in the race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill through the November election and he’s in it to win. He says he’ll soon resume regular campaign events.
“Apparently, there’s some people who are having trouble understanding our message. I’d like to be clear on that today — that we’re going to be here through the November election, and we’re going to be here to win,” Akin said.
“There may be some negotiations,” he added, “but they don’t include me.”
Akin has been apologizing and seeking online donations since remarking last Sunday that women’s bodies have ways of avoiding pregnancy in cases of what he called “legitimate rape.”
He didn’t directly address those remarks Friday.
“Your recent support gave me the courage I needed to fight on, thank you for standing with me, and supporting my campaign to defeat Claire McCaskill,” Akin said in a fundraising message prior to the conference.
Campaign spokesman Ryan Hite confirmed that Akin was forging ahead with his campaign, just as the six-term congressman has insisted he would do despite calls from top Republicans for him to drop out of the race.
After winning the GOP primary in August, Akin had gained quick backing from national Republican and conservative groups focused on ousting McCaskill. But that support withered after Akin was asked in an interview that aired Sunday on a St. Louis television station whether his general opposition to abortion extended to women who have been raped.
“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said of a woman becoming pregnant from rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
The chairman of the Republican National Committee urged Akin to quit the Senate race, as did presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, his vice presidential pick Paul Ryan and every living Republican who has represented Missouri in the Senate.
Akin apologized repeatedly on national radio and TV shows while acknowledging his original remarks were wrong. He also has been running a 30-second apology ad on TV stations across the state.
But until Friday, Akin has remained largely out of sight in Missouri. He went to Ohio to film his apology ad at the office of his media strategist. Then he went to Florida, where he met with fellow conservatives who had gathered in advance of the Republican National Convention.
Watch the press conference courtesy of Mediaite: