Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., listens to a reporters question as he campaigns during the Northwest Missouri State Fair in Bethany, Mo., Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. It was Akin's first public interaction with voters since his Aug. 19 comment in a TV interview that women's bodies have ways of averting pregnancy from what he called "legitimate rape." The comment prompted widespread backlash, with some Republicans urging him to quit the race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Updated at 3:38 p.m.
Todd Akin is in the Missouri Senate race to stay, and he's got some friends: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., endorsed the Missouri Republican this morning, the highest-level Republicans to stand up for him after his remarks that "legitimate" rape rarely leads to pregnancy.
"Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate," the two said in a release. "Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage."
"We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us so we can save our country from fiscal collapse," they wrote.
Senate Conservatives Fund, the super PAC founded by DeMint, appears poised to help Akin with fundraising, though they haven't officially said they will yet.
DeMint and Santorum aren't the only two Republicans to rally around Akin now that the drop-out deadline has passed: The Missouri GOP released a statement of support for the congressman, and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt
, who has once called for Akin to drop out, said
he would work to help the Senate campaign. And former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
campaigned with Akin Monday, predicting that GOP groups would come in and help the candidate post-deadline.
"No one should've been fooled by the party's faux outrage and their ensuing change of course because as the Republican establishment is making clear today, the Akin backlash was never about principle, it was purely about politics," said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Shripal Shah