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W. Todd Akin

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Rep. W. Todd Akin of Missouri ignited a firestorm of criticism over his comments on rape. (Associated Press)

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A gaffe by Rep. W. Todd Akin of Missouri has imperiled the Republicans’ chances of claiming a Senate seat that was thought to be ripe for the taking. In Mr. Akin’s case, it would be a pickup for the GOP. (Associated Press)

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A gaffe by Rep. W. Todd Akin of Missouri has imperiled the Republicans’ chances of claiming a Senate seat that was thought to be ripe for the taking. In Mr. Akin’s case, it would be a pickup for the GOP. (Associated Press)

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Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill makes a point about Republican challenger Rep. W. Todd Akin on Sept. 21 during their first debate in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri. A surge in GOP voter turnout in the past decade increases Mr. Akin’s chances of winning. Republicans also credit a strong evangelical faction and a shift in party preference by rural voters. (Associated Press)

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Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill makes a point about Republican challenger Rep. W. Todd Akin on Sept. 21 during their first debate in the U.S. Senate race in Missouri. A surge in GOP voter turnout in the past decade increases Mr. Akin’s chances of winning. Republicans also credit a strong evangelical faction and a shift in party preference by rural voters. (Associated Press)

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The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, Rep. W. Todd Akin, who home-schooled his children, not surprisingly has the avid backing of the state’s home-schoolers. Mr. Akin is running to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has the endorsement of teachers unions. (The Associated Press)

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The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri, Rep. W. Todd Akin, who home-schooled his children, not surprisingly has the avid backing of the state’s home-schoolers. Mr. Akin is running to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has the endorsement of teachers unions. (The Associated Press)

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Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill walks off the stage with challengers Republican W. Todd Akin (left) and Libertarian Jonathan Dine after their debate in the Missouri Senate race in Columbia, Mo., on Sept. 21. (Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin brought home federal dollars for projects in his district but is now an ally of an anti-earmark group, opening himself up to criticism that he has switched to get a campaign donation from the group for his Senate race. (The Jefferson City News-Tribune via Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin brought home federal dollars for projects in his district but is now an ally of an anti-earmark group, opening himself up to criticism that he has switched to get a campaign donation from the group for his Senate race. (The Jefferson City News-Tribune via Associated Press)

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Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill walks off the stage with challengers Republican W. Todd Akin (left) and Libertarian Jonathan Dine after their debate in the Missouri Senate race in Columbia, Mo., on Friday. On Wednesday, Sen. Jim DeMint and former Sen. Rick Santorum offered their endorsements to Mr. Akin, and the NRSC is keeping a close eye on the race. (Associated Press)

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Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill walks off the stage with challengers Republican W. Todd Akin (left) and Libertarian Jonathan Dine after their debate in the Missouri Senate race in Columbia, Mo., on Sept. 21. (Associated Press)

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Missouri Rep. W. Todd Akin’s standing in the Republican Party plummeted after his comments in August about “legitimate rape” caused a national uproar. He has until Tuesday to decide to stay in the senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, who is leading in the polls. (Associated Press)

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Missouri Rep. W. Todd Akin’s standing in the Republican Party plummeted after his comments in August about “legitimate rape” caused a national uproar. He has until Tuesday to decide to stay in the senate race against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, who is leading in the polls. (Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin of Missouri trails incumbent Claire McCaskill by 5.3 percentage points in the state’s race for Senate. Mr. Akin, a Republican, said women’s bodies can reject pregnancies if they are victims of “legitimate rape.” The comment caused party officials to demand that he quit the race, but he remains on the campaign trail. “A couple weeks ago, I felt like I parachuted into the middle of a hurricane,” he said. (Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin of Missouri trails incumbent Claire McCaskill by 5.3 percentage points in the state’s race for Senate. Mr. Akin, a Republican, said women’s bodies can reject pregnancies if they are victims of “legitimate rape.” The comment caused party officials to demand that he quit the race, but he remains on the campaign trail. “A couple weeks ago, I felt like I parachuted into the middle of a hurricane,” he said. (Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, talks with reporters about his Senate candidacy. He has apologized for insensitive remarks about rape but the Republican Party still wants him to drop out of the race. (Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, talks with reporters about his Senate candidacy. He has apologized for insensitive remarks about rape but the Republican Party still wants him to drop out of the race. (Associated Press)

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Rep. W. Todd Akin, Missouri Republican, is under heavy pressure from his own political party to quit the race for the U.S. Senate after insensitive remarks he made regarding rape and abortion. (Associated Press)