A quartet of former Republican U.S. senators from Missouri—two of whom are now with Am Law 200 firms—joined the growing chorus within their party Tuesday urging six-term GOP Congressman Todd Akin to end his bid to unseat incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, in the wake of his controversial comments about rape and abortion.  
Many leading Republicans have sought to distance themselves from Akin by disavowing his statement that women’s bodies can essentially prevent conception in instances of what he described as “ legitimate rape.” Others in the party have called on Akin, whose district includes the western St. Louis suburbs, to end his campaign. Akin earned his place on November’s ballot by beating businessman John Brunner and former Missouri treasurer Sarah Steelman in a GOP primary earlier this month.
Akin has apologized for the comments, but as of Tuesday afternoon was vowing to stay in the race. His refusal to withdraw came even as John Ashcroft, Christopher “Kit” Bond, John Danforth, and Jim Talent joined Missouri’s other sitting U.S. Senator, Roy Blunt, in calling on him to make way for someone else to take on McCaskill.
“We do not believe it serves the national interest for Congressman Todd Akin to stay in this race,” the five prominent Show Me State Republicans said in a statement. “The issues at stake are too big, and this election is simply too important. The right decision is to step aside.”
Danforth, spent 18 years as a U.S. senator, joined Bryan Cave in 1995 after retiring from the legislative body. He went on to serve as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during the second Bush administration before returning to Bryan Cave as a partner in 2005. Danforth currently divides his time between Kansas City and St. Louis.
Danforth was mentioned as a potential nominee for U.S. attorney general when President George W. Bush took office in January 2001. The job went to his Senate successor, Ashcroft, who now has his own Arlington, Virginia–based strategic consulting firm.)
Bond, who served in the Senate from 1987 to 2011, joined Thompson Coburn last year at the behest of longtime friend and firm business litigation partner Thomas Douglass. Bond, a partner in the firm’s public finance and public law practice based in Washington, D.C., also opened his own business development and consulting firm last November, according to sibling publication The Blog of Legal Times.
For his part, Talent, who lost to McCaskill in 2006, has said publicly that  he won’t replace Akin in this year’s race. A Harvard Law School graduate, Talent joined a government relations unit of St. Louis–based public relations and communications firm Fleishman-Hillard upon leaving the Senate that same year. (Talent’s wife, Brenda, was once a Bryan Cave partner.)
A review of campaign finance filings shows that Akin, who has little allegiance to the Republican establishment, has received scant financial support from Am Law donors. The campaign coffers of his opponent McCaskill, a former prosecutor and longtime Missouri politician and civil servant, have received more than their share of legal industry contributions.
Lawyers and law firms make up the largest group of contributors to McCaskill’s various political campaigns, including her current run, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics’s OpenSecrets website.
Individuals and political action committees from Bryan Cave, Husch Blackwell, Polsinelli Shughart, and Thompson Coburn have contributed nearly $200,000 to McCaskill in her reelection bid, while plaintiffs’ firm Simmons Cooper has contributed another $45,250 to the Democratic incumbent’s campaign.