Todd Akin Biography

U.S. Representative(1947–)
Todd Akin is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri's 2nd District, best known for his controversial statement on abortion made during his 2012 senate bid.

Synopsis

Congressman Todd Akin was born in New York City on July 5, 1947. Akin served in the Missouri state legislature for 12 years before successfully running for the United States House of Representatives in 2000. Akin is a conservative Republican with uncompromising anti-abortion views. He received negative national recognition for controversial comments regarding rape made during his 2012 senate race, of which he ultimately lost to Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Early Life

William Todd Akin was born in New York City on July 5, 1947, to Nancy Perry and the Reverend Paul Bigelow Akin. The family relocated to St. Louis, Missouri when Todd was a child. Akin attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, earning a degree in management engineering. He eventually applied this training to a career in engineering at IBM and the Laclede Steel Company.

Akin was involved in the military and theology, as well as engineering. He served in the Missouri National Guard from 1972 to 1980, and completed a graduate degree in divinity at the Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

Political Career

In 1988, Todd Akin ran successfully for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives. Akin was subsequently re-elected to this seat five times between 1990 and 1998. Over his 12 years in office, Akin voted for the legality of concealed weapons, and against increases in both taxation and funding for education. In 1995, he opposed Governor Mel Carnahan on the issue of state funding for abortions.

In 2000, Akin ran to replace outgoing Republican U.S. Representative Jim Talent, who resigned in order to run for governor. Akin was elected to the House, and was re-elected five times thereafter.

Akin's record in the United States House of Representatives has been consistently conservative and is informed by his Christian beliefs. He is anti-abortion in all cases, including instances of rape and incest. He is also uniformly opposed to embryonic stem cell research. Additionally, he has spoken out against gun control, gambling and taxation. During his tenure in Congress, Akin has earned high marks from the American Conservative Union and the National Rifle Association. He has also found support from Tea Party organizations.

Akin's leadership positions in the House have largely been related to the military. He has served on the House Armed Services Committee, including a position as chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.

2012 U.S. Senate Election

In May 2011, Akin announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the 2012 Senate election. He subsequently attained the nomination to challenge the incumbent, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, a first-term senator who achieved national recognition for her close relationship with President Barack Obama's administration.

In August 2012, Akin made national headlines for controversial remarks on abortion and pregnancy. In a television interview in Missouri, he expressed his opinion that pregnancy rarely occurs in cases of "legitimate" rape, due to a biological response to trauma.

Despite Akin's later retraction, his comment about the correlation between rape and pregnancy revived women's health as a 2012 campaign issue and called Akin's political future into question. The majority of Republican leaders and every Democratic leader condemned Akin's remarks. Several of his congressional colleagues called upon the congressman to withdraw from the senate race. The National Senatorial Committee and the advocacy group Crossroads GPS quickly withdrew funding for the campaign, which Akin pledged to continue nonetheless.

As a result of the controversy, Akin ultimately lost his senate bid in Missouri to McCaskill, who won a sizable 55 percent of the vote to his 39 percent.

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