Senate races

GOP Senate prospect stands by Todd Akin

King, who is considering a Senate run in Iowa, neither embraced nor disagreed with Akin’s comments while speaking on the nationally syndicated Andrea Tantaros show.

“Well, I had never heard of that theory before it was uttered in Missouri. I have not seen anything come out since that, so I know nothing about that theory,” King said when Tantaros pressed him on whether he agreed with Akin’s comments. 

{mosads}”What I have said is that I’ve served here in Congress with Todd Akin. He was a friend going in, he’ll be a friend coming out. But what happened in Missouri isn’t relevant to what goes on here in Iowa.”

Akin triggered a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and fellow Republicans for comments during his 2012 Senate run that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” 

“If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin told a St. Louis television station.

The remarks fatally wounded his campaign, and Akin has since been held up by establishment Republicans as a top example for why they need to get involved in GOP primaries.

King was recently described as having a “Todd Akin problem” by GOP strategist Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, who with Karl Rove is launching a super-PAC looking to defeat unelectable Republicans in primaries. 

Several conservative Republican activists have been angered by the new group’s creation and by Law’s comments on King, which suggested the Iowa lawmaker is a potentially flawed Senate candidate who could not win in a general election. 

Law’s comments on King were directed more at King’s own past controversial remarks on issues including abortion and immigration, not at his friendship with Akin.

The swipe has set the Iowa Senate primary up as a potential battle between grassroots conservatives and establishment Republicans. 

King didn’t back down when Tantaros said Democrats and the media will use King’s friendship with Akin to tie him to the “legitimate rape” comments.

“I don’t leave my friends, though,” he said.

King, a favorite of both the Tea Party and religious conservatives, sought to pivot to the broader issue of abortion when asked during the interview about Akin. 

Recent polling shows that King would be the favorite in the GOP primary in the state, but he would start off as a weaker general election candidate than other Republicans who are mulling bids.

King has backed Akin in the past. Shortly after Akin’s controversial remarks, King called Akin a “strong Christian man” and described the heated response to his comments “petty personal attacks.”

This post was updated at 1:55 p.m.


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