ST. LOUIS, August 23, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Now that Todd Akin has said he will be staying in the race for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat, senior pro-life and conservative leaders including Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Bauer, and others are telling the Republican Party establishment to back off its “over-the-top” campaign to have him step aside.

Phyllis Schlafly, who emerged on the conservative scene with her 1964 book A Choice Not an Echo, rapped party elites for disenfranchising their own voters. “I don’t think people like that should make the decision,” she said. “The people of Missouri should make that decision.” 

Both national pro-family leaders and local grassroots conservative leadership are confused and offended by national party leaders such as Karl Rove, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, and Charles Krauthammer, who have vowed to cut funds from Akin’s candidacy or pushed him to withdraw from the race. 

Columnist Ann Coulter has suggested Republicans stage a write-in candidacy for former Governor Kit Bond.

“The on-going parade of public denunciations by various GOP leaders is over-the-top and counterproductive,” said Gary Bauer, a former presidential candidate and leader of the Campaign for Working Families, in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com, “Some of their public attacks on Akin have been more aggressive than anything some of these leaders have ever said about Barack Obama and his truly radical rejection of the sanctity of human life and his promotion of abortion-on-demand paid for by the taxpayer!”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

Ryan Bomberger of the Radiance Foundation had a personal stake in the issue. The child of rape, he said, “Quite frankly, I’m glad such a pro-family, pro-life stalwart, despite a few bumps and lots of scrapes, is not quitting under pressure from hypocritical pro-abortion radicals and spineless Republicans.” 

Iowa Congressman Steve King, who faced his own media feeding frenzy over abortion remarks taken out of context this week, was as blunt, stating that George Soros-funded media are now “dictating the response of leading Republicans.”

The Show Me state’s conservative leaders have flocked to Akin’s side, as well.

John Putnam, Missouri state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, said the national party should be “circling the wagons” around their candidate, not condemning him.

Akin won his races with a family-fueled campaign that defied the state’s Republican establishment. That has led local media to conclude he owes them nothing.

If he loses the race, the Republican Party will not take back control of the U.S. Senate. But pro-family leaders say if the Republicans replace Akin, they will almost certainly lose the race.

“After allegations of sexual indiscretions in sealed divorce records, which were leaked to the media, Republican leaders pressured Jack Ryan to withdraw from the 2004 Illinois Senate race,” said Vision America Action President Dr. Rick Scarborough. “That’s how we ended up with Barack Obama in the White House—a steep price to pay for Republican squeamishness.”

“Missouri voters – who gave Akin the GOP Senate nomination – are wise enough to decide who they’d prefer to send to Washington, ultra-liberal Clair McCaskill or a decent man and an authentic conservative who misspoke,” he said.

Many see the tempest-in-a-tea-party as little more than an attempt to marginalize pro-life voices within the Republican Party. Judie Brown of the American Life League wrote, “This is really not about Akin at all; it is about the red herring that pro-abortion forces have used for years to define genuine pro-life apologists as zealots, fanatics and unrealistic Pollyannas.” 

Despite Akin’s remarks, Public Policy Polling, a Democrat-leaning firm, found him polling one point ahead of Democratic incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill, 44-43. “GOP voters dislike McCaskill so much they’re not going to vote for her no matter what their nominee does,” the firm found. “Independent voters haven’t moved at all either.”

Putnam said from his perspective, the only way Akin can prevail is “if the pro-life community gets behind him and makes this a national campaign.”