ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - U.S. Senate candidate Congressman Todd Akin refused Friday to yield to pressure from Republican leaders to step aside. Akin made his first media appearance in Missouri at an afternoon news conference following the firestorm controversy over his remarks about rape and pregnancy on the Sunday Jaco Report on FOX 2.
Republicans, ranging in views from presidential candidate Governor Mitt Romney to conservative commentator Ann Coulter, have called on Akln to leave the ticket. Many GOP leaders fear despite his apology and retraction of his remarks, he will alienate women voters needed to win the Missouri Senate race.
Akin reiterated his stance that he would stay in the race through the election. "We are here to win," he said adding, "There may be some negotiations but they don't include me." That may have been a veiled reference to reports some GOP leaders want him to drop out in return for a high profile job or a chance to run again for his U.S. House seat.
He is challenging Missouri's Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill who has backed Obamacare and the president's economic stimulus plan.
The Congressman made no direct reference to the controversy that has placed him on front pages and in network newscasts across the country. He, instead, returned to a familiar campaign theme promising to stand on principle and to seek an America with more freedom and smaller government.
Reporters were told he would answer only five questions. Aides ended the news conference after five minutes and ushered him out the door.
When asked to characterize what had happened when party leaders began calling for him to step aside, Akin said, " One of the things I've realized through the years, I may not be the favorite candidate of people within the Republican establishment but the voters made a decision and this is an election not as selection."
He noted the party did not support him 15 months ago and he plans to campaign as he has in the past “pretty straightforward." Neither Akin nor his son and campaign manager Perry Akin would say how they plan to conduct a campaign and buy media after major national donors backed away from the Akin race. Akin's campaign web site reports raising at least $200,000 in campaign donations over the past several days.
No campaign schedule for the weekend or next week was available.