Matt Rourke / AP
Reince Priebus worries that Republicans' years-long quest to retake the Senate could be upended by the "biologically stupid" Todd Akin.
The Republican National Committee chairman forcefully reiterated the GOP establishment's call for the Missouri Senate nominee—under fire for his recent comments on "legitimate rape"—to drop out of the race.
"I think he should get out the race," Priebus told CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday morning. "He's got to put the mission of liberty and freedom ahead of himself."
When Crowley initially described Akin's recent remarks about rape and pregnancy, Priebus declared, "I call it biologically stupid."
And when asked if Akin could cost Republicans the Senate, Priebus said: "Sure, absolutely."
Democrats hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, and since they have to defend far more seats this year than do Republicans, many analysts have predicted that Republicans have a strong chance of picking up the four seats they'd need to seize the upper chamber's majority. But without the pickup of a seat in increasingly red Missouri, where Democrat Claire McCaskill is quite vulnerable, Republicans would have a much tougher road to winning the Senate majority. And some analysts have suggested that Akin's comments could even "infect" other races across the country, to Democrats' advantage.
Recent polls show McCaskill crushing Akin. A Rasmussen Reports survey revealed that McCaskill leads Akin by 10 points. And one by the Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., shows Akin behind McCaskill 17 points among independents. Back in July, independents favored the Republican congressman by 11 points over McCaskill.