Rep. Todd Akin (R)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: July 5, 1947, New York, NY .
Home: Town and Country.
Education: Worcester Polytech Inst. (MA), B.S. 1971, Covenant Theological Seminary (MO), M. Div. 1985.
Family: Married (Lulli); 5 children.
Military career: Army Reserves 1972-80.
Elected office: MO House of Reps., 1988-2000.
Professional Career: Marketing mgr., IBM, 1974-78; Mgmt. dir., Laclede Steel, 1977-80.
The congressman from the 2nd District is Todd Akin, a Republican first elected in 2000. He still lives in his boyhood home, a 60-year-old farmhouse in an upscale neighborhood in Town and Country. He graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and earned a divinity degree at Covenant Seminary. After service as an Army combat engineer, he worked for IBM in the Boston area and then at Laclede Steel in Alton, Ill. The steel company was founded by his great-grandfather and his father once worked there, too. Akin was elected to the state House in 1988. An avid student and teacher of American history and the Constitution, Akin lectures at various public and private institutions. His religious beliefs are also a guiding force in his life, and Akin enjoys strumming gospel tunes on his guitar. While a state legislator, he sold standardized tests to parents who home-school their children; he and his wife home-schooled their six children. He also filed a lawsuit to stop the state’s approval of riverboat gambling but was ultimately unsuccessful.
|Todd Akin (R)||232,276||(62%)||($838,986)|
|William Haas (D)||132,068||(35%)||($52,218)|
|Thomas Knapp (Lib)||8,628||(2%)|
|Todd Akin (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (61%), 2004 (65%), 2002 (67%), 2000 (55%)
When U.S. Rep. Jim Talent, a Republican, launched his bid for governor in 1999, Akin ran for his House seat. He started off as the underdog to Gene McNary, a former Bush administration Immigration and Naturalization Service commissioner, well known locally from his 15 years as St. Louis County executive. Akin called himself “a conservative with a soft edge.” He emphasized he had never voted to raise taxes and had strong support from religious conservatives. In a low-turnout, rainy-day primary, Akin rallied his committed voters to win the five-candidate contest by 56 votes over McNary. In the general election against Democratic state Sen. Ted House, Akin focused on their differences on taxes. House, whose television ads did not identify himself as a Democrat, depicted Akin as an extreme ideologue and an ineffective legislator. Akin carried St. Louis County 57%-40% and won overall, 55%-42%.
In the House, Akin has one of the most strongly conservative voting records. After a California federal appeals court ruled the reference to “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional, Akin twice successfully ushered through a bill to strip lower courts of jurisdiction over challenges to the Pledge. But it went nowhere in the Senate. He sponsored the Parent’s Right to Know Act, which bars funding to family planning projects that provide contraceptive drugs and devices to minors without parental consent. In 2003, Akin burned some bridges with Republican leaders when he voted against their bill creating a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, saying the new program would be a “budget buster” and attract more illegal immigrants to the country. He sponsored a bill in 2008 to encourage offshore energy exploration in the National Sea Grant Program.
On the Armed Services Committee, Akin has emphasized special operation forces, which he considers essential to the fight against terrorism. One of his sons was a Marine in Iraq. He is also a defender of Boeing, a major presence in his district. In May 2008, the House defeated his amendment to restore $193 million for the Army’s Future Combat Systems program, a Boeing project. He may be motivated to try again given his increasing seniority on the committee.
Back home, Akin was easily re-elected. In 2006, Republican primary challenger Sherman Parker, a moderate African-American state representative, was arrested a week before the contest on charges of failing to register his car or to appear in court for a speeding ticket. Akin won 88%-12%. In the 2008 presidential contest, he did not endorse John McCain until midsummer, citing their differences on federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, campaign finance regulation and illegal immigration.