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Intro: "Losses for Republican duo who made off-hand remarks on rape and abortion destroy GOP hopes of taking control of the Senate."

Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock won't be ascending to the U.S. Senate. (photo: Scott Olson/Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock won't be ascending to the U.S. Senate. (photo: Scott Olson/Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)



Rape Comments Cost Akin and Mourdock Senate Seats

Karen McVeigh, Guardian UK

07 November 12

 

odd Akin and Richard Mourdock, the Republican candidates who made off-the-cuff remarks about rape and abortion, have both been defeated, destroying their party's hopes of taking control of the Senate.

Akin, who lost to incumbent Claire McCaskill in Missouri, was abandoned by his party after he made his notorious "legitimate rape" comments in August. The six-term congressman from suburban St Louis and a staunch pro-lifer, told a television interviewer who asked about his abortion stance: "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Until that point, McCaskill was considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent senators because of her links to Barack Obama in a state that has leaned heavily to the right in recent national elections.

Immediately after the result was called on Tuesday night, Jason Whitman, the GOP chairman, expressed his frustration at Akin in a tweet, which read: I just want to say a quick thank you to @ToddAkin for helping us lose the senate"

Akin's remarks, at odds with basic biology as well as introducing the notion that rape was a crime on a sliding scale, caused widespread offence among Republicans and Democrats alike.

In Indiana, Mourdock, a Tea Party favourite who beat veteran incumbent Richard Lugar in the Republican primary, was initially tipped to win against Joe Donnelly, but he too lost ground after overstepping the line when talking about abortion and rape. He said that pregnancy resulting from rape is "something that God intended to happen."

The Republican party, who believed it would be impossible for Akin to beat McCaskill after the controversy, withdrew campaign funding and leaders, including Mitt Romney and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell called on him to step down in time for the party to name a replacement. Missouri has long been considered to be an important seat for Republicans if they are to win the Senate.

But Akin refused and, with a band of mostly Christian conservative supporters, portrayed himself as an anti-establishment figure.

When the national Republican senatorial committee and Crossroads for America, an influential Super Pac, withdrew funding, Akin began an online campaign for donations and found support from prominent Republicans, including former presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

Akin's campaign concentrated on McCaskill's close ties with Obama, her support of the healthcare law and the 2009 fiscal stimulus and her family's links to federal money.

McCaskill featured video clips of Akin expressing opposition to the federal minimum wage and to the federal government's role in issuing student loans, which he had cited as an example of how the government suffers from "the equivalent of stage three cancer of socialism."

In Indiana, the incumbent, Richard Lugar, had 87% of the vote when he won his sixth term in 2006, but he lost the seat he had held for almost four decades in a primary challenge earlier this year to Mourdock, the state treasurer and a Tea Party favourite.

Mourdock began the contest with momentum from his win over Lugar, but he slipped in the polls after he said he did not support a woman's right to abortion in the case of rape. He was also damaged by Lugar's refusal to involve himself in the campaign.

"I believe that life begins at conception," Mourdock said, in a televised debate with Donnelly in October. "The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God – that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."

His comments, attracted widespread criticism from both sides, including President Barack Obama and prominent Republicans. Mitt Romney distanced himself from Mourdock's comments but did not withdraw his endorsement of him.

Mourdock stood by his comments, apologising only for people misinterpreting them. But the most recent polls this week and last showed his opponent gaining ground.

Donnelly, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary, also holds conservative views on abortion. He supports legal abortion only in the case of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

 

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+24 # MainStreetMentor 2012-11-07 09:57
While the "rape comments" were damaging, the REAL revelation was the mind-sets those comments unveiled to the public. The American People again prove, as a whole, they GET IT RIGHT when the chips are down. These two have been democratically removed from our governance. Thank goodness.
 
 
+26 # TrueAmericanPatriot 2012-11-07 10:39
What is really sad, MainStreetMento r, is that men like him give ALL MEN a bad rap amongst women. If he really had any morals about himself, HE WOULD KNOW that rape and intimate consensual sex between a man and his wife are TWO TOTALLY DIFFERENT THINGS. RAPE is about INTIMIDATION, MANIPULATION, CONTROL, AND KNOWINGLY VIOLATING a woman's will (yes, even IN MARRIAGE). The psycho physically, mentally, and emotionally CRIPPLE HIS VICTIMS, leaving many scarred for years; sometimes for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. Rape in an evil criminal act of a VILE HUMAN BEING!! It is neither the ACT or WILL of GOD; EVER!
 
 
+19 # Regina 2012-11-07 11:28
Good riddance to a pair of dumb-but-danger ous dodos. Let that be a warning, as well as an example, to others of their ilk. We cannot have a Congress composed of cretins whose comprehension of basic sciences is lower than the level that elementary education provides -- or is supposed to. And when religious "teachings" conflict with secular facts and principles, remember the Constitution -- NO religious dictates allowed.
 
 
+21 # yrag66 2012-11-07 12:23
"Immediately after the result was called on Tuesday night, Jason Whitman, the GOP chairman, expressed his frustration at Akin in a tweet, which read: I just want to say a quick thank you to @ToddAkin for helping us lose the senate"

I would also like to thank Akin & Mourdock too !!

Good work, gentlemen.....Y ou have put the "proper and real face" on the once sane GOP.
 
 
+3 # Rick Levy 2012-11-08 00:10
God intended for these two morons to shut down.
 
 
+4 # NOMINAE 2012-11-08 00:47
ATTENTION: Tea Baggers and Political Religious extremists, PLEASE just continue to be YOURSELVES in front of everyone and on camera ! We can't *ask* for more !

And can we hope for a semi-evolved human biped to take Akin's Seat on the SCIENCE COMMITTEE ?

Who MAKES these appointments ?!?
 

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