(ONLINE.WSJ) — Fearing a likely election victory is now in doubt, Republican leaders and candidates on Monday called on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to abandon his bid for a crucial Senate seat because of his suggestion that women's bodies can avert pregnancies in cases of "legitimate rape.''
Mr. Akin had been running ahead in polls of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who is widely considered the most endangered Senate incumbent. But were he to lose, the GOP's chances of recapturing a majority in the Senate and enacting a sweeping conservative agenda would be reduced. Republicans control the House and hope to overturn a 53-47 Democratic majority in the Senate.
The high stakes in the race prompted an unusually public campaign by Republicans to persuade Mr. Akin to step aside, despite his victory in a hard-fought primary just two weeks ago. If Mr. Akin doesn't quit the race by 5 p.m. Tuesday, he would have to seek a court order to do so. Mr. Akin suggested Monday he had no plans to drop out.
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