Rep. Todd Akin. (AP File)
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
Embattled Republican candidate Todd Akin made clear today he is staying in the Missouri Senate race, despite calls from GOP leaders to get out.
"We're going to be here through the November election, and we're going to be here to win," Akin said at a news conference in Chesterfield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb.
Numerous Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, called on Akin to exit the race after his comments last weekend about abortion and "legitimate rape."
In his first appearance in public since the comments, Akin said he "may not be the favorite candidate" of "the Republican establishment," but he did win the party's Senate primary.
"This is an election, not a selection," Akin said.
A member of the U.S. House, Akin is running against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., in a race that could decide which party controls the Senate next year.
Akin, who has apologized for his comments in statements and interviews, said McCaskill's record should be the issue in the Senate election. He also confirmed that he and his family have received threats, and that the FBI is investigating them.
Akin also had a message for Republicans who want him to leave the race.
"Apparently, there are some people who are having trouble understanding our message ... that we are going to be here through November," Akin said.
Click the video player above to watch the entire press conference.
Caitlin Legacki, Communications Director for Senator Claire McCaskill's campaign released the following statement to NewsChannel 5:
"The Republicans in Missouri voted to have Todd Akin as their nominee. Nothing about that has changed. The choice between Todd Akin and Claire is stark, and Missouri voters will get to decide who will be on their side in the U.S. Senate."