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Akin says Danforth too 'liberal' to complain about GOP field for U.S. Senate

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 12, 2012 - U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Wildwood and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, is slapping back at former Sen. John C. Danforth, R-Mo., who has called on state Auditor Tom Schweich to jump into the contest.

The implication from the “open letter,” signed by Danforth and other major Republicans, was that the existing GOP field is too weak to topple the intended target, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

Besides Akin, the other Republican contenders are St. Louis businessman John Brunner and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman.

Akin said in a statement this morning that he takes issue with Danforth’s reasoning.

“I like Sen. Danforth and I count him my friend. He did a great job in getting Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court,” Akin said. “But when he intimates that the Republican field for the Senate seat is weak, I believe what he means is that it is too conservative.”

Akin then lashed out. “I say that in these times, you can’t have someone who’s too conservative, and we definitely cannot afford a candidate from the liberal, Danforth wing of the party.”

Akin added that he had the strongest conservative voting record among the three current candidates – and he believes that may be what Danforth objects to.

“For example, as an ardent pro-lifer, I have never supported the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, a position unappreciated and not shared by the former senator,” Akin said, citing Danforth’s longstanding support for such research.

“As a congressman I’ve spent years standing strong on pro-life and pro-family Issues,” Akin continued. “Being a champion of traditional values comes with many strong friends, but also many who aren’t happy with my record. The liberal and centrist Republicans consider my record inimical to their controlled ‘balance’ on the ticket.”

Akin issued his statement after making similar comments this morning on KMOX radio (1120 AM).

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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