Ex-Rep. Todd Akin, sunk by ‘legitimate rape’ remark, dies

Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, a conservative Missouri Republican whose remark that girls’s our bodies have a approach of avoiding pregnancies in circumstances of “respectable rape” sunk his bid for the U.S. Senate and have become a cautionary story for different GOP candidates, died late Sunday. He was 74.

Akin had most cancers for a number of years, his son, Perry, stated in a press release. He died at his dwelling in Wildwood, a St. Louis suburb.

“As my father’s loss of life approached, we had individuals from all totally different walks of life share story after story of the non-public influence he had on them,” Perry Akin stated in a press release to The Related Press.

“He was a religious Christian, an amazing father, and a pal to many. We cherish many fond reminiscences from him driving the tractor at our annual hayride, to his riveting supply of the liberty story at 4th of July events dressed within the full uniform of a colonial minuteman. The household is grateful for his legacy: a person with a servant’s coronary heart who stood for reality.”

Akin represented a Republican-leaning jap Missouri district that included St. Louis-area suburbs for 12 years, giving up a protected seat to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012. He emerged from a crowded GOP major to problem then incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, solely to significantly harm Republicans’ possibilities of recapturing a Senate majority lower than two weeks later.

Akin, a robust abortion opponent, was requested throughout an interview by a St. Louis tv station whether or not he supported permitting abortions for ladies who’ve been raped. He answered that “from what I perceive from medical doctors” that such pregnancies are “actually uncommon.”

He added: “If it’s a respectable rape, the feminine physique has methods to attempt to shut that complete factor down.”

His feedback sparked an outcry. The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, instantly rebuked Akin and stated his marketing campaign would permit abortions in such circumstances.

Criticism of Akin’s remarks clouded his U.S. Senate bid till the top, making him an emblem of how Republicans might fumble away races they’d a superb probability of successful with a candidate deemed too far to the correct. Akin’s marketing campaign initially stated he “misspoke,” and Akin later stated he was fallacious.

Akin confronted stress from the nationwide GOP to withdraw and permit the state get together to select a alternative. He refused and ended up dropping the race by almost 16 proportion factors, receiving 39 p.c of the vote. But different Republican officers and officeholders throughout the U.S. sometimes echoed his remarks — signaling how conservative a few of the get together’s base had turn out to be on the problem.

Two years later, Akin revealed a guide, “Firing Again,” through which he accused GOP leaders of abandoning him and letting McCaskill win and labeling information organizations as bullies. Within the guide, he additionally retracted his public apology for his “respectable rape” comment.

Akin by no means ran for workplace once more, although early in 2015, he briefly fueled hypothesis a couple of 2016 major problem to GOP U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt with remarks that tea get together Republicans needed “new blood.”

Akin was born July 5, 1947, in New York Metropolis, however grew up within the St. Louis space. He obtained a bachelor’s diploma in engineering and administration from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts in 1970, served within the U.S. Military and labored for IBM. He labored in company administration on the St. Louis-based Laclede Metal Co.

He gained a seat within the Missouri Home in 1988 and served within the Legislature for 10 years. He gained Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District seat in 2000 and was reelected 5 occasions. He additionally served on the board of the anti-abortion group Missouri Proper to Life.

Within the 2012 U.S. Senate major, Akin confronted two formidable opponents, former State Treasurer Sarah Steelman and businessman John Brunner.

Many Democrats thought McCaskill’s finest shot at successful reelection can be with Akin because the GOP nominee. Her marketing campaign aired tv adverts suggesting Akin was too conservative, Brunner was not a dependable conservative and Steelman represented “extra politics as ordinary.”

Republicans took the adverts as McCaskill’s try to assist Akin win the GOP major. An autobiography that McCaskill revealed in 2015 stated she additionally tried to spice up Akin’s marketing campaign by urging it by way of again channels to renew airing a tv advert that includes an endorsement from former conservative GOP presidential candidate and ex-Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

McCaskill’s strikes paid off. Akin prevailed within the eight-person GOP subject with solely 36 p.c of the vote.

Funeral info has not been introduced. Survivors embody Akin’s spouse, Lulli Boe Akin, his mom, Nancy Bigelow Akin, 4 sons, two daughters and 18 grandchildren.

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