A few days before Tuesday's election, news of additional arrests may not much affect views of Akin. His staunch pro-life stance is a big part of his political pitch. His arrest record emerged in part because he boasted of it to supporters. Akin's statement that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy and his opposition to emergency contraception for rape victims, along with other statements, have been hammered in ads aired by McCaskill. They have already generated pitched opposition to his candidacy from many voters and helped McCaskill open a large lead among likely female voters, and a solid lead in most polling.
But critics hope Akin's record bolsters Democrats' contention that his actions and beliefs, in addition to his statements, make him unacceptably extreme for most Missouri voters. While Akin noted he was arrested in a "peaceful protest," People for the American Way has worked to
document Akin's ties to people in the anti-abortion movement who advocated violence against doctors who perform abortions.
Akin was arrested with members of an anti-abortion group later taken over by Tim Dreste
, who pushed aggressive action against abortion clinics and was arrested hundreds of times at anti-abortion protests. In one case Dreste held a sign referencing a doctor in Florida who was murdered by protestors. In 1993 Akin contributed to Dreste's longshot state house campaign. After Dreste started a militia group, Akin was listed as a speaker at a 1995 rally held not long before the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City, though he apparently did not address the rally.
In 1999, Dreste lost a civil lawsuit that charged he threatened to kill pro-choice plaintiffs who sued him in 1995. He was then censured by the St. Louis Country Republican Central Committee and forced to resign from a seat on the committee. "We condemn the use or threat of violence," the group said in a letter explaining the action.
Tyler said Akin now has no relationship with Dreste. But in 2011, shortly before Akin announced his widely expected Senate run, Dreste registered eight Akin-affiliated domain names, such as "ToddAkinFor Senate.org." People for the American Way also cited a picture posted by Dreste's wife on Facebook showing Akin and the couple's daughter.