On final withdrawal deadline, Akin holding steady in Missouri Senate race

(CNN) - Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, under fire for his controversial rape comments, has until Tuesday to drop out of the U.S. Senate race -- but he has vowed to continue.

Akin became a political pariah after an appearance on Missouri television station KTVI on August 19, where his comments on rape-induced pregnancy caused public outrage.

"From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," he said. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Prior to the congressman's comments, Republican leadership hoped Akin would prove victorious over Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, a win that would help the GOP regain majority of the Senate.

Democrats now control the Senate 53-47.

The fallout from his remarks forced the Republican Party to rescind that strategy.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for Akin to bow out of the race. The party's vice-presidential pick, Paul Ryan, called Akin personally to suggest he step aside.

Steve Law, president and CEO of American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Republican operative Karl Rove, also pulled his support from the six-term Missouri congressman.

"This firestorm that Todd Akin has created for himself has engulfed not only him but, we think, any chance whatsoever of being able to salvage this race as long as he's in this race," Law said.

Under Missouri law, Akin can still file a court petition by Tuesday to ensure his name does not appear on most general election ballots. (Ballots to military members overseas have already gone out.)

He would also be required to pay for any necessary reprinting of ballots. And the state Republican committee could choose a replacement candidate

But Akin has repeatedly said he has no desire to drop out.

Chased by reporters in early September, Akin assured the media, "I'm in, totally in."

Akin even went as far as to suggest the odds of winning are in his favor.

"Our polling data says we're going to win this so that's the plan and that's what we're focused on," he said.

The question remains, how will Todd Akin pay for this race?

The National Republican Senatorial Committee said it will pull the $5 million reserved for the Missouri race, should Akin decide to continue running for the senate.

GOP chair Reince Priebus also told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Republican National Committee will not fund Akin's candidacy.

Akin said he's heard from people all over Missouri who are encouraging him to remain steadfast in his decision to keep.

Asked if he's guaranteeing he'll be the GOP candidate after the Tuesday deadline to replace him with another candidate, Akin said, "That's what I'm saying. I've tried to say it about five times."

--CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Dana Bash, Josh Levs and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.
 


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