U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a Republican challenging Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, for her seat in Washington, fell short in his bid tonight, 55 percent to 39 percent with partial results tabulated, following a campaign that was rocked by critics’ reaction to his misstatement about rape.
He also fought on despite the abandonment for a time by his own party, which shunned him for his comments in August when he referenced “legitimate rape” as an awkward synonym for forcible rape.
There were a few in the GOP who stuck by him, noting his long record of public service with integrity, and fought on his behalf, including South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint.
“He took a big hit when he got his foot in his mouth,” DeMint told WND’s Greg Corombos just before the election. “He has asked forgiveness. He’s got a good voting record, and we are doing everything we can to still win that seat. For me, it’s a choice between Todd Akin and Harry Reid.”
When DeMint uses the word “we,” he is referring to his Senate Conservatives Fund PAC and not the GOP establishment. DeMint said the PAC raised $100,000 for Akin. However, both the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee refused for a long time to assist.
“They thought it was not winnable after he said that,” said DeMint.
DeMint understands the uproar over Akin suggesting that women’s bodies can naturally prevent pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape,” but he said voters must look at the totality of Akin’s record.
“It’s important what we say, but he’s got a voting record and he’s done the right thing over more than a decade,” said DeMint, who noted contributors to his PAC voted overwhelmingly to provide financial backing for Akin. “When the Senate Conservatives Fund … queried its members about what we should do, about 95 percent of them responded they we should get in there and help him. Folks understand the implications of that race, and it could be the one that determines whether or not we’ve got a majority and can pass a budget and can actually get some things done with a President Romney.”
The Democrats, and the GOP leadership, pounced on Akin after the statement in an effort to drive him out of the race. Akin was publicly urged to drop out by his party’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and telephoned by vice presidential pick Paul Ryan, who also asked him to quit. The GOP elite cut off campaign funds when the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and strategist Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC turned against Akin. Pundit Ann Coulter even called Akin a “selfish swine” for continuing his race.
Yet many conservatives have rallied to Akin in defiance of Republican leadership.
One of the first leaders to speak out on Akin’s behalf was Dr. James Dobson, whose advice about parenting, child-rearing, marriage and faith has guided millions of Americans and whose counsel on family matters has been sought by presidents.
Dobson, the founder and president of Family Talk, which produces his regular radio program, “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk,” told WND it is “disgraceful” that the “GOP political bosses” told Akin to drop out of the race, withdrewfinancial support and publicly maligned the congressman.
“I regret to say that Congressman Akin has been subjected to disgraceful treatment at the hands of the GOP political bosses,” Dobson said. “They have withheld funds for his campaign, even though he won the GOP primary for the Senate seat. Karl Rove and Haley Barbour have said things about his character that are untrue. Their vicious opposition could get his Democratic opponent elected in his stead. That is curious since an Akin win could give the Senate majority to the Republicans.”