Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has stepped up his calls for Missouri Congressman Todd Akin to end his Senate campaign.
The embattled Congressman and Tea Party favorite made national headlines recently for his use of the phrase “legitimate rape” and his claim that it rarely results in pregnancy.
McConnell joined many other Republican leaders, including presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in saying Akin’s candidacy hurts the GOP’s chances at gaining control of the Senate.
“This was a mistake of gargantuan proportions,” McConnell said during a visit to Louisville Tuesday. “I think this campaign for him has no future, and I think he ought to step aside in the best interest of the country and the party so we can have a candidate who has a chance of becoming a United States Senator.”
Republican control of the Senate is of special importance for McConnell, who stands to become Senate Majority Leader if his party gains enough seats.
But Senator Rand Paul was less adamant on the Akin issue.
“I don’t really have a comment. I know what it’s like going through a campaign and I don’t really think I should be giving someone else advice on what they should do or shouldn’t do,” Paul said. “I think there’s not any medical evidence that somehow pregnancy is less likely to happen with rape.”
Congressman Akin had until 6 pm Tuesday to drop out of the race. If he wants to drop out now, he will have to file a court order within five weeks and pay the cost of printing replacement ballots.
Missouri is one of several states with a close contest. Four GOP victories would put McConnell in a key position to become majority leader.