Missouri remained in the center of the political universe for the fourth straight day Wednesday as U.S. Rep. Todd Akin struggled to rejuvenate his Senate bid and Republicans speculated about possible deals that could provide him a graceful exit.
Akin, who triggered a national firestorm Sunday with his comments about rape victims, again appealed to donors to finance his campaign after several major conservative contributors, such as Crossroads GPS, said they were pulling out of the state.
"Missourians, I need your help," Akin posted on Twitter. "You're ready to put a conservative voice in the Senate. Chip-in $5 to help us get there."
In another, he wrote: "The media is against us. The Washington elites are against us. The party bosses are against us. Help us fight back."
Akin continued to purchase TV advertising time in Kansas City, buying 104 spots costing nearly $50,000 on three stations alone, some of them apologizing for his choice of words.
And he got a boost Tuesday night when the Boone County Republican Central Committee in Columbia voted 11-17 to reject a resolution calling on him to step aside.
But storm clouds were never far away. With the balance of the Senate potentially on the line, Republicans continued to demand that Akin step down. U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Harrisonville, a conservative Republican, was the latest to call on Akin to quit.
"Like many Missourians, I found Congressman Akin's comments baffling, disturbing and misinformed," Hartzler said.
Conservative pundit and former education secretary Bill Bennett wrote on Twitter that Akin "has to get out now. He could take down the whole ship. We must win this election."
Jack Danforth, one of several former Missouri U.S. senators who on Tuesday asked Akin to leave the race, told Politico that Akin can't win the election and there was nothing he could do about it.
"He can't do anything," Danforth said. "It's gone. He can't recover ... He'll have some people supporting him, it's just not going to be half of the electorate."
Blake Hurst, president of the Missouri Farm Bureau, a bastion of Republican support, sent a letter to county Farm Bureau presidents to gauge whether the group should withdraw its endorsement of Akin.
"We are plowing new ground, but believe it is wise to seek input from county Farm Bureau leaders concerning the possible reconsideration of the endorsement," Hurst wrote.
Meanwhile, Akin told national television audiences that he was continuing his campaign against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, who remained silent on the issue Tuesday and Wednesday.
"It's not about me," Akin said on NBC's "Today" show. "It's about trying to do the right thing and standing on principle. I believe that America is at a crisis point right now, and it's extremely important that the voters have a choice of someone who is completely opposite of Claire McCaskill."
On the show, Akin revealed that GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan had asked him to step down. Akin said he told his House colleague that he would look at the matter seriously and make a decision.
But Akin, who did not return calls from The Star seeking comment, continued to face the stark reality that no prominent elected Republicans in the state were standing with him.
The fury surrounding Akin started Sunday when an interview with him was broadcast on KTVI-TV in St. Louis. Akin was asked if abortion should be allowed in rape cases.
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