Todd Akin, Former Republican Congressman And Failed Senate Candidate, Dies

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Former Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, whose “legitimate rape” comment tanked his 2012 Senate bid, died Sunday.

Akin’s son, Perry, confirmed his death to the Associated Press. He said that Akin had battled cancer for several years and that he died at home in Wildwood, Missouri.

“As my father’s death approached, we had people from all different walks of life share story after story of the personal impact he had on them,” Perry Akin said.

“He was a devout Christian, a great father, and a friend to many,” he added. “We cherish many fond memories from him driving the tractor at our annual hayride, to his riveting delivery of the freedom story at 4th of July parties dressed in the full uniform of a colonial minuteman. The family is thankful for his legacy: a man with a servant’s heart who stood for truth.”

In his twelfth year in office, Akin announced that he would forego reelection to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the 2012 election. During the campaign, he was asked by a local television station whether he supported access to abortion for women who are raped. Akin responded by stating that, as he understood things, such cases were “really rare.”

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“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down,” Akin said in relation to rape victim pregnancies.

Akin later apologized for his comments, saying that he had “great empathy” for victims of all kinds.

His comment sparked a backlash that was immediate and bipartisan. Then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney condemned Akin’s statement and said that he supported abortion access for rape victims. Akin ultimately lost his race by more than 15 points, even though former President Barack Obama lost the state by almost 10 points.

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