September 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While recent polls show Todd Akin in a dead heat with, or even pulling ahead of Sen. Claire McCaskill in the Missouri senate race, Republican Chairman Reince Priebus has renewed GOP pledges not to support the embattled senator, saying, “He could be tied. We’re not going to send him a penny.” 

Two weeks ago Akin prompted a media firestorm after he suggested that pregnancy is rare in instances of “legitimate rape,” a statement he has since apologized for making. 

Priebus had discouraged Akin’s presence at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. He said stepping aside from the race with incumbent Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill would show Akin was “putting the country first.”  It would prove he “really did believe this is about liberty and freedom and the future of this country.” 

These statements from Priebus follow a series of comments and denunciations from leading figures in the GOP, including presidential contender Mitt Romney.

His “comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” Romney said.  “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.  I have an entirely different view. What he said is entirely without merit and he should correct it.” 

At the same time, Akin continues to garner support from conservative and pro-life groups like the Tea Party, American Life League, and the Campaign for Working Families. Some have slammed the GOP, accusing the party of having thrown Akin under the bus.

“The on-going parade of public denunciations by various GOP leaders is over-the-top and counterproductive,” said Gary Bauer, former presidential candidate and leader of the Campaign for Working Families in an emailed statement to LifeSiteNews.  “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!”

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, wrote the criticism is not about Akin but about false arguments used “to define genuine pro-life apologists as zealots, fanatics and unrealistic Pollyannas.” 

Tony Perkins, Family Research Council Action PAC chairman, defended Akin, saying he has “consistently voted for legislation that honors marriage, human life, religious freedom and national security.”

Akin is raising his own support from the grassroots level now that he has lost financial backing from the GOP.  He has been bolstered by appeals for fundraising from Mike Huckabee and others. 

“I’m in the race for the long haul, and we’re going to win it,” he said.