PHOENIX -- Even as Republicans continued pressuring a Missouri politician today to quit a key Senate race over incendiary comments on rape and abortion, Gov. Jan Brewer offered a tempered response.
Brewer said Rep. Todd Akin's claims that women rarely get pregnant from rape were, "a little bit outrageous." And unlike a growing number of Republicans calling for Akin to drop his Senate bid, Brewer said it's not for her to say.
"He's the one in the public eye, he's the one who determined he was going to run and he's the one that made the statement,” Brewer said. "Now it's up to him to decide and I believe that on election day the voters of Missouri will decide."
Akin ignited a political firestorm over the weekend when he was asked about his position on abortion, which he opposes even in the case of rape. "From what I understand from doctors, that's really rare," Akin told a St. Louis television station. "If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Since then Republican politicians from across the county have called for Akin to step aside. That list includes five current and former senators from Missouri, nine current senators, and the presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney.
In addition, the national Republican party pulled its funding from Akin's race. When asked about the GOP's decision to take the money, Brewer said, "I'm not in a position to decide whether its right for the party to pull funding, I mean these people there raise the money and they get to spend it however they wish."
The deadline for Akin to drop out is 5 p.m., Tuesday. According to numerous media reports, the embattled congressman will continue his campaign against the democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Republican’s consider this a must-win race for the party to take back control of the Senate. The GOP needs to pick up three Senate seats (four if Romney wins) to take over the upper chamber.
Recent polling showed Akin beating McCaskill by 5 points. Should Akin's comments cost him the election, Republicans would have to win four of the five remaining seats where Democrats are poptentially vulnerable.