JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Written off by many in his own party a month ago, Republican congressman Todd Akin has been slowly rebuilding his Senate campaign after apologizing for inflammatory remarks about pregnancy and rape.
Now Akin is approaching a critical week that could determine whether his reemerging campaign can gain enough momentum to put Missouri back in the battleground column as Republicans attempt to win control of the Senate from Democrats.
Tuesday is the deadline for Akin to get a court order to drop his challenge of Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill. But Akin says he won’t do so. Instead, Akin plans to ramp up his campaign.
He is holding a fund-raiser Monday with former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. He is addressing a potentially influential group of pastors Tuesday morning. Then as the drop-out clock ticks down, he is kicking off a statewide bus tour for his Senate bid that will include conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.
‘‘I believe the state of the campaign is looking better and better,’’ Akin said Friday after engaging McCaskill in their first debate and then rallying on the Missouri Capitol lawn.
Akin has apologized repeatedly since a TV interview aired Aug. 19 in which he suggested that women’s bodies have a natural defense against pregnancy in cases of ‘‘legitimate rape.’’ He has repeatedly rejected calls of top national Republicans — including presidential candidate Mitt Romney — to quit the race so the state GOP committee can appoint a replacement candidate. Yet some have doubted Akin’s resolve.
‘‘There are a lot of donors who have sat on the sidelines and are waiting’’ for Tuesday’s drop-out deadline to pass, said Rick Tyler, an ex-Gingrich aide now on Akin’s campaign. ‘‘We are tilling that hard soil now — that is, reaching out to people who could potentially give significant amounts of dollars.’’
Come Tuesday, ‘‘those donors are going to see that Todd’s going to be on the ballot,’’ Tyler adds.