Akin: Decision to stay in race a matter of principle

Sunday, September 16, 2012
U.S. Rep.Todd Akin, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, speaks Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 at a meeting of the Cape Girardeau County Republican Women's Club. (Fred Lynch)

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin called his decision to stay in the race against Sen. Claire McCaskill a matter of principle and criticized the Democrat incumbent's voting record during campaign stops throughout Southeast Missouri on Friday.

Akin, a six-term U.S. House of Representatives member from Missouri's 2nd District, has resisted the calls of many Republican Party leaders to leave the U.S. Senate race after he told a St. Louis TV show host that he believed women's bodies were able to prevent pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." He told a group of supporters in Cape Girardeau on Friday that he decided to stay in the race by listening to people around the state and by considering "principle instead of politics."

"People elected me, and they elected me to do a job, and that's to replace Claire McCaskill. That's what I was commissioned to do by the voters of this state," he said.

He has since apologized for the comment numerous times and recently referred to it in a recent TV ad, calling it a "six-second mistake."

Akin stopped in Poplar Bluff, Dexter and Sikeston for meet-and-greet events and a luncheon before he reached Cape Girardeau. He was introduced during an appearance at Dexter Bar-B-Que by Hector Maldonado, whom Akin defeated in the Republican primary, and state Rep. Wayne Wallingford.

McCaskill's ads leading up to the primary called Akin "too conservative."

"Now, from her point of view, I think she is actually honest about that. But the thing is, I am just about right for Missouri," he said.

McCaskill's campaign has been working to portray her as a moderate senator.

Akin said McCaskill only is trying to distance herself from the Democrats because she knows the state actually is becoming more conservative.

"She's too liberal for Missouri," he said, "and that's why she's telling everybody she's a moderate."

A Washington, D.C. nonpartisan review, the National Journal, has ranked McCaskill among the top 10 most moderate members of the Senate each year she has been in office, most recently in 2011 ranking her 50th most liberal and 51st most conservative. The Washington Post has also repeatedly ranked McCaskill among the top four senators most likely to break with their party.

Erik Dorey, press secretary for McCaskill's campaign, said McCaskill is being seen as a moderate senator because it is "proven fact."

"On a scale of 1 to 100, liberal to conservative, Claire comes it at number 50," he said in a statement. "It's that simple: she's on our side first. On the other hand, Todd Akin is among the most extreme members of Congress and believes compromise is a dirty word."

A Rasmussen poll released Wednesday showed McCaskill with a six-point lead over Akin. Several previous polls showed a nine or 10-point lead for the incumbent.

McCaskill was in Washington D.C. this week to participate in Senate sessions, according to her campaign. She was last in Southeast Missouri on Sept. 7, when she visited Southeast Missouri State University to discuss college loans with students.

eragan@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

236 S. Broadview St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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