The Republican Rape Caucus Crumbles

Foot-in-mouth rape commentary by Republican candidates was one of the most disturbing mini-trends of the 2012 election. And as the returns began rolling in last night, it quickly became clear that this bounty of apologies for sexual assault had paved the way for some big GOP losses. Here’s a breakdown of the candidates who said absurd things about rape and paid for it at the polls.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette/ZUMAPressPittsburgh Post Gazette/ZUMAPressWho: Tom Smith, Pennsylvania Senate candidate

Comments: In a TV interview, Smith compared a pregnancy from rape to “having a baby out of wedlock.”

Outcome: Defeated by Democrat Bob Casey, who got nearly 54 percent of the vote.

 

 

Globe Photos/ ZUMAPressGlobe Photos/ ZUMAPressWho: Linda McMahon, Connecticut Senate candidate

Comments: During a debate, McMahon clarified that no Catholic hospital should be required to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, except in cases of “emergency rape.”

Outcome: Defeated by Democrat Chris Murphy, who got 55 percent of the vote.

 

 

 

Harry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPressHarry E. Walker/MCT/ZUMAPressWho: Rick Berg, North Dakota Senate candidate

Comments: When asked in a TV interview whether he’d support abortion in cases of rape, Berg awkwardly evaded the question, then gave a flat-out no. 

Outcome: Berg conceded to Heidi Heitkamp, who beat him by less than 3,000 votes.

 

 

 

Wisconsin State LegislatureWisconsin State LegislatureWho: State Rep. Roger Rivard, running for reelection to the Wisconsin legislature

Comments: Last December, Rivard got into a discussion with a local newspaper about a case in which a 17-year old was accused of forcing sex on a 14-year-old girl. Expressing his thoughts on the case, Rivard cited a motto he’d learned from his dad: “Some girls rape easy.” Or in other words, girls agree to sex and then call it rape, because that’s convenient.

Outcome: Rivard lost to Democratic challenger Stephen Smith by 582 votes.

 

Christian Gooden/ZUMAPressChristian Gooden/ZUMAPressWho: Todd Akin, Missouri Senate candidate

Comments: During a now-infamous TV interview in August, Akin responded to a question about his beliefs on abortion in cases of rape by saying that pregnancy from “legitimate rape” is unlikely because “the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.” In October, a 2008 video surfaced showing Akin explaining how women who aren’t actually pregnant get abortions anyway.

Outcome: Lost to Democrat Claire McCaskill, who got nearly 55 percent of the vote.

 

Chris Bergin/MCT/ZUMAPressChris Bergin/MCT/ZUMAPressWho: Richard Mourdock, Indiana Senate candidate

Comments: When asked at an October debate whether abortion should be permitted in cases of rape, Mourdock said it shouldn’t, because the rape and subsequent pregnancy are “something God intended.”

Outcome: Defeated by Democrat Joe Donnelly by nearly 150,000 votes.

 

Andrew Shurtleff/ZUMAPressAndrew Shurtleff/ZUMAPressWho: Paul Ryan, vice presidential candidate and incumbent representative in Wisconsin

Comments: Where to begin? Ryan has called rape just another “method of conception,” has said he’s “very proud” of the forcible rape bill he cosponsored with Todd Akin, and has cast 59 votes on abortion in his career, all of them anti-choice.

Outcome: Ryan won’t be heading to the White House as Mitt Romney’s VP, but he did keep his House seat.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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