8th District GOP committee passes resolution supporting Akin candidacy

Thursday, August 30, 2012
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin emerges to give his victory speech after his win in the senate primary race at his campaign party at the Columns Banquet Center in St. Charles, Mo., on Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Christian Gooden)

The Republican leadership in the 8th Congressional District has given its official support to Rep. Todd Akin's contentious candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

At its reorganizational meeting Tuesday night, which is mandated to take place following the August primary election, the members of the 8th Congressional District Republican Committee passed by voice vote a resolution asking their party to respect the election process and allow Akin to continue his candidacy without interference.

The resolution, proposed by Dr. Pamela Grow, chairwoman of the party's 120th legislative district, which covers parts of Phelps and Crawford counties, supports "a proper regard for the wishes and respect for the rights of suffrage of the Republican voters of the state" and declares support for Akin's candidacy as the voters' choice to represent the party in the fight to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Akin ignited a firestorm when he made remarks earlier this month saying that women's bodies could prevent conception in cases of "legitimate rape." He has since apologized.

Republican leaders on the state and national level, along with some conservative political organizations, have withdrawn support for Akin, saying his candidacy jeopardizes the party's chances of gaining seats in the Senate. In Butler County, the Republican central committee disinvited Akin from its Reagan Days event next month.

Grow said she and other district party leaders see the actions of many "establishment" Republicans who are urging Akin to drop out as compromising the principles of representative democracy.

"I think the circumstances are extraordinary, there's no doubt about that," Grow said in a phone interview Wednesday, "and we can see, that from the national convention on down, there appears to be some sort of willingness to disregard the wishes of the little guy, the wishes of the Republican voter."

The voice vote on the resolution took place in Van Buren, Mo., and those involved said there wasn't opposition expressed during the lead-up to the vote.

Eddy Justice, the chairman of the 8th Congressional District committee who has been critical of Akin's decision to stay in the race, said the resolution isn't meant as a stamp of approval of the candidate or his policies.

Instead, the resolution is meant to endorse the process, and establish that it's Akin's choice of what to do from here.

"I don't know of anyone that thinks he didn't win fair and square," Justice said Wednesday.

The resolution doesn't include opinions on the merits of Akin's positions on abortion and rape, or anything else, Justice said.

"There was no opposition because there's nothing in the resolution that is not bona fide fact," Justice said.

Out of 110 potential committee members, votes were cast representing 69 of them, Grow said.

Not all committee members were able to attend Tuesday's meeting, and some in attendance abstained from the voice vote.

Evan Trump, a Cape Girardeau County Republican committeeman who was the chairman of the county Republicans before reorganization, said he supported the resolution.

"We know the guy made an error in what he said, and he apologized for it right away ... but the important thing is trying to go through getting a new candidate is going to undermine the voters," Trump said.

The state GOP declined to comment through its spokesman, Jonathon Prouty, referring the Southeast Missourian to previous statements made by party leaders urging Akin to reconsider his decision to stay in the race.

msanders@semissourian.com

388-3652

Pertinent address:

Van Buren, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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