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Akin camp: We're staying in the race

 

Today's final deadline for embattled Missouri Republican Senate nominee Todd Akin to withdraw from the race is just hours away, and he has scheduled a news conference at 3:00 pm ET.

Is he potentially dropping out of the contest?

Not a chance, his campaign says.

"Staying in the race, as we've said," Ryan Hite, the campaign's communications director, said in a text message to NBC News. 

"Just kicking off bus tour today and talking about Missouri Commonsense values as the bus tour title suggests," Hite continued. "Nothin[g] earth shattering."

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According to Akin's campaign website, the Missouri Common Sense Bus Tour launches today and runs through Friday.

*** UPDATE *** Declaring that he "was given a trust" after winning a three-way Republican primary contest in August, Akin this afternoon affirmed he wouldn't quit his senate race.

"Over the period of the last number of weeks, a number of people have asked me, 'Are you quitting, are you dropping out?" Akin told supporters this afternoon. He added, "I don't believe that that is really my decision. The decision was made by the voters of the state of Missouri."

The event, meant to mark the kickoff of Akin's bus tour, was billed as a press conference, though Akin didn't take questions from the media.