A growing controversy over his comments about rape victims has placed Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., under pressure from senior Republican officials to bow out of his Senate race by Tuesday so the GOP could nominate someone with better odds of defeating Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

The swift and severe reaction underscores the pivotal nature of Missouri in the GOP’s efforts to win control of the U.S. Senate.

Democrats currently control the chamber 53-47, and Republicans have long viewed McCaskill’s Missouri seat as a must-win if they stand a chance at seizing the majority.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the chairman of the Senate Republicans’ campaign operation, did not outright call for Akin to step aside, but said he should take 24 hours to “carefully consider what is best for him, his family, the Republican Party and the values that he cares about” before deciding to go forward with his campaign.

Continue reading →