The Washington Times - September 26, 2012, 11:36AM

Two leading conservatives have endorsed Rep. Todd Akin in his U.S. Senate race, joining a growing list of Republicans who are deciding to support him despite his comments about rape.

Sen. Jim DeMint and former Sen. Rick Santorum said Wednesday morning they will back the Missouri congressman because they want his opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, to lose.

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“If Republicans are to win back the Senate and stop President Obama’s liberal agenda, we must defeat Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri,” they said in a statement. “Her support of President Obama’s job-killing, big-spending policies are sending our country into an economic abyss.”

Mr. DeMint’s endorsement was especially crucial for Mr. Akin, because the South Carolina senator holds the reins to the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that has raised millions for conservative candidates.

Increasingly concerned that they won’t win the four seats they need to take over the chamber, others from the GOP are warming up to Mr. Akin, now that it’s certain he’ll remain in the race.

Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, who had previously called on him to step down, pledged late Tuesday to back him.

“Congressman Akin and I don’t agree on everything, but he and I agree the Senate majority must change,” Mr. Blunt said. “From Governor Romney to the county courthouse, I’ll be working for the Republican ticket in Missouri, and that includes Todd Akin.”

But Ms. McCaskill spokesman Erik Dorey said it’s telling that the Republicans waited to endorse Mr. Akin until they were sure he was in the race to stay.

“You can tell these endorsements are enthusiastic just by the way these Republicans waited until they were stuck with Todd Akin to finally support him,” Mr. Dorey said. “But this predictable influx of ‘support’ from the extreme wing of the Republican party doesn’t change the fact that Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Ashcroft, Roy Blunt, Tom Coburn, Ron Johnson and droves of other Republicans didn’t support Todd Akin and asked him to step down.”