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Former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) said Monday he will not challenge Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in a primary in 2016.

“In response to various questions: I will not be running for the U.S. Senate in 2016,” Akin said in the statement, according to The Associated Press.

Last week, Akin told The Hill he was leaving the door open to another potential Senate run.

“I have not ruled anything out,” the former congressman and 2012 GOP Senate nominee said.

“I think there is a high level of dissatisfaction among conservatives, that they have to some degree been pushed out of the Republican Party,” he continued. “The sentiment is there. The Tea Party is skeptical and wants some fresh blood, not just the same establishment guys.”

Akin’s absence from the Missouri Senate race will be welcome news to national Republicans.

During his 2012 race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), he triggered a firestorm of controversy for saying that women rarely get pregnant from “legitimate rape” during a discussion about why abortion should be illegal in all cases, even rape and incest.

Akin refused to back down from the comments, and Republicans abandoned him in what was once believed to be a winnable race. His comments also dogged other candidates throughout the election cycle.

Blunt is serving his first term in the Senate after having spent more than a decade in the House. He has said publicly he intends to run for reelection but has not yet officially announced.

Democrats, meanwhile, have landed their top recruit for the race, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who launched his Senate bid last week. 

Kander has the support of all the Democratic statewide elected officials in Missouri, including Sen. Claire McCaskill and Gov. Jay Nixon, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has backed him early.

Tags Claire McCaskill Missouri Senate Roy Blunt Roy Blunt Todd Akin

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