CHESTERFIELD, Mo. -- A defiant Todd Akin insisted Friday that he will remain in the Missouri Senate race despite calls from many in his own party to drop his troubled bid.
Akin, a six-term Republican congressman, called a press conference Friday in his St. Louis-area congressional district because, he said, "there's some people who are having trouble understanding our message."
"We're going to be here through the November election and we're going to be here to win," Akin said.
The Republican congressman sparked controversy on Sunday when he said that women's bodies can prevent pregnancy in the event of "legitimate rape." He later apologized for the remark and said he had misspoken.
Still, many in his party, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have called for Akin to drop his bid after the comment sparked an unwelcome debate about abortion on the eve of the GOP's nominating convention.
It also threatened to derail what had been considered a winnable race for the GOP in a state that is key to the party's hopes of regaining control of the Senate.
Akin allowed a dropout deadline to pass last week, but he could still exit the race by Sept. 25. That is the last deadline that would allow Republicans to offer a different candidate.
Akin, citing principle, said he had no intention of abandoning his bid after 15-plus months of campaigning.
"I may not be the favorite candidate of some people within the Republican establishment," Akin said. "But the voters made a decision and this is an election, it's not a selection."
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