JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Written off by many in his own party a mere month ago, Republican Rep. Todd Akin has been slowly rebuilding his Senate campaign after apologizing for inflammatory remarks about pregnancy and rape.

Now Akin is approaching a critical week that could determine whether his re-emerging campaign can gain enough momentum to put Missouri back in the battleground column as Republicans attempt to win control of the Senate from Democrats.

Tuesday is the deadline for Akin to get a court order to drop his challenge of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. But Akin says he won't do so. Instead, Akin plans to ramp up his campaign. He's holding a fundraiser Monday with former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. He's addressing a potentially influential group of pastors Tuesday morning. Then as the drop-out clock ticks down, he's kicking off a statewide bus tour for his Senate bid that will include venerable conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.

"I believe the state of the campaign is looking better and better," Akin said Friday after engaging McCaskill in their first debate and then rallying on the Missouri Capitol lawn with supporters of a newly formed women-for-Akin coalition.

Akin has apologized repeatedly since a TV interview aired Aug. 19 in which he suggested that women's bodies have a natural defense against pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape." He has repeatedly rejected calls of top national Republicans – including presidential candidate Mitt Romney – to quit the race so the state GOP committee can appoint a replacement candidate. Yet some have doubted Akin's resolve.

"There are a lot of donors who have sat on the sidelines and are waiting" for Tuesday's drop-out deadline to pass, said Rick Tyler, a former Gingrich aide who joined Akin's campaign as part of the re-building effort. "We are tilling that hard soil now – that is, reaching out to people who could potentially give significant amounts of dollars."

Come Tuesday, "those donors are going to see that Todd's going to be on the ballot," Tyler adds.

Whether that triggers an avalanche of money for Akin remains one of the most important questions facing his campaign.

Akin already was starting from behind against McCaskill financially after spending all but a few hundred thousand dollars to win a contentious Aug. 7 Republican primary. After his rape remark, Akin lost the financial support of the Republican National Committee, the Republican senators' political committee and the deep-pocketed Crossroads group affiliated with Republican strategist Karl Rove. That zapped millions of dollars of planned TV advertising.

Since then, Akin has raised nearly $600,000 through a small-dollar, online appeal that has cast his candidacy as an anti-establishment crusade against both Republican Party bosses and President Barack Obama's administration. Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has aided the Internet fundraising drive. But Gingrich's event Monday – at $500 a person or $750 per couple – will be Akin's first prominent headliner for a traditional fundraiser in at least five weeks.

"This is an act of conscience on my part – I didn't like seeking a guy getting beaten up by the power structure," Gingrich said.

But Gingrich also is pragmatic.

"If the Republicans are going to win control of the Senate, they need Missouri," said Gingrich, who led the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in 1994.

Others also are considering coming to Akin's aid, including Sen. Jim DeMint, of South Carolina, who has built the Senate Conservatives Fund into a formidable fundraising organization for its favored candidates.

Republicans need a net gain of four seats in the November elections to take control of the Senate. But Republican-held seats in Maine and Massachusetts are jeopardy, and losses there would increase the number of seats the GOP must wrest away from Democrats. Missouri had been considered one of the Republicans' best chances for a pick-up until Akin's rape remark undercut his campaign.

Regardless, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus flatly reiterated on Sunday he would be sending no resources to aid Akin's campaign.

"We're not going to play in Missouri with Todd Akin, I can tell you that. So it'll be yet to be seen whether he stays in or not," Priebus told ABC's "This Week."

Republican consultant John Hancock, who worked for one of Akin's opponents in the primary, said outside groups had been expected to spend about $15 million to support a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri. Even then, a Republican candidate likely needed to chip in $6 million or $7 million from his own campaign to offset the money from McCaskill and Democratic-aligned groups, Hancock said.

Under that model, a typical candidate would need to be holding about two, $500-a-plate fundraisers a week and as many as five, $2,500-a-plate fundraisers a month, including some out of state, Hancock said.

Gingrich's fundraiser is just one of many that Akin will need in the coming weeks. But if he remains close in the polls to McCaskill, those dollars could start coming a little easier.

"If you get to the first week or second week of October and the Missouri race is still unquestionably part of the equation for getting to 51 senators, then I would be shocked if outside money didn't come in," Hancock said, of the Republican strategy to win control of the Senate.

Akin doesn't expect to recoup all of the financial support he lost. That's why his campaign is focusing heavily on organizing grass-roots coalitions. Akin likely can expect a strong effort from his traditional base of anti-abortion activists and Christian conservatives, but he also needs the support of gun enthusiasts and business owners, some of whom backed Akin's rivals in the Republican primary, Tyler said.

This past week, the inaugural event by a new group of female Akin supporters drew about 300 people in the St. Louis area. A few days later, around 100 turned out for a similar event in Jefferson City, though they were countered by protesters who chanted "rape is rape" while Akin spoke to the crowd.

Julie Thomas, a mother of three from the Lake of the Ozarks, said she took it upon herself to organize the women-for-Akin rally. She described herself as strongly "pro-life" and praised Akin as "a man with unparalleled character."

"Whenever he got thrown under the bus by his own party, I just said, `uh, uh.' That was a tipping point for me," Thomas said.

Even as top Republicans abandoned Akin after his remarks, McCaskill insisted that she still expected a close Senate race. At their first debate Friday, McCaskill took on the role of a challenger – striking first and furiously with accusations that Akin's positions are too extreme on contraception, Medicare, student loans and other issues.

"Our campaign is working hard and taking nothing for granted," said McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki. "You can expect Claire to continue working as if she's running from behind."

Related on HuffPost:

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  • Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.)

    "Well, I thought his comments were a little bit outrageous," she <a href="http://www.kjzz.org/content/1208/gov-brewer-akin-comments-little-bit-outrageous-doesnt-call-candidate-drop-out-race" target="_hplink">told KJZZ's Mark Brodie</a>. "I'm not in a position to [decide] whether it's right for the party to pull funding, I mean, those people there raise the money, they get to spend it however they wish."

  • Mitt Romney

    "As I said yesterday, Todd Akin's comments were offensive and wrong and he should very seriously consider what course would be in the best interest of our country," said Romney in a statement. "Today, his fellow Missourians urged him to step aside, and I think he should accept their counsel and exit the Senate race." Earlier, from an <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314452/romney-akins-inexcusable-comment-robert-costa" target="_hplink">interview with the National Review</a>: <blockquote>"Congressman's Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong," Romney said. "Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive."</blockquote>

  • Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.)

    "He should be ashamed of himself to be talking about it in that way," Christie said. "It's stunning to me that somebody who's offering themselves for high office like that would have those kind of thoughts and use that kind of language."

  • Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.)

    From <a href="http://mountpleasant.patch.com/articles/gov-scott-walker-says-missouri-senate-candidate-todd-akin-should-get-out" target="_hplink">Patch</a>: <blockquote>Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday that Republican Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin should drop out of the race after Akin made controversial comments about rape and pregnancy. "Yes, he should step down. Those comments were ignorant at best and outrageous," Walker said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Sturtevant.</blockquote>

  • Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-Va.)

    "He's got to seriously decide what's in the best interest of the party, what's in the best interest of the state of Missouri, and frankly, at this point, given that flat wrong statement, whether he can win," McDonnell <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/bob-mcdonnell-todd-akin_n_1818906.html?1345568504" target="_hplink">told The Huffington Post</a>. "I think there was a belief a month ago, when it was just he and [incumbent Sen. Claire] McCaskill head to head after he got the nomination, that it would be a hard-fought competitive race, with Romney at the top of the ticket and up double digits, that this would be a race that would be winnable for the Republicans," McDonnell said. "To say things that seemed to be so flat wrong and out of touch with both science and the people, I think it makes it very difficult at this point for him to win."

  • NRSC Chair Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)

  • Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.)

    "It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape ... The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive."

  • Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan Campaign

    "Gov. Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin's statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. "Congressman's Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong," <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/314452/romney-akins-inexcusable-comment-robert-costa" target="_hplink">Romney said</a>. "Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive."

  • Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

    "What he said is just flat wrong in addition to being wildly offensive to any victim of sexual abuse. Although Representative Akin has apologized, I believe he should take time with his family to consider whether this statement will prevent him from effectively representing our party in this critical election," said McConnell, according to the <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-mcconnell-suggests-todd-akin-consider-his-options-20120820,0,5243455.story" target="_hplink"><em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>.

  • Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

  • Elizabeth Warren

  • Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.)

    "As a husband and father of two young women, I found <a href="http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/scott-brown-calls-for-todd-akin-to-drop" target="_hplink">Todd Akin's comments</a> about women and rape outrageous, inappropriate and wrong. There is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. Not only should he apologize, but I believe Rep. Akin's statement was so far out of bounds that he should resign the nomination for US Senate in Missouri."

  • Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)

    "Whether he has mispoken or whether he has a position that we would have trouble agreeing on, I don't know that. I do know him and I do know his family, and I'm impressed with what they've accomplished. So that's the best I can do with what little bit I know," <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDsQkjnQx5Y&feature=youtu.be" target="_hplink">said King</a>. And later: "I just haven't heard of that being a circumstance that's been brought to me in any personal way," he <a href="http://www.kmeg14.com/story/19324372/rep-steve-king-on-the-campaign-trail" target="_hplink">told KMEG</a>. "I'd be open to hearing discussion about that subject matter."

  • Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.)

  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)

    "I have to agree with those, including Republicans, who have said he should give up his race for Senate," said Van Hollen on <a href="http://video.msnbc.msn.com/newsnation/48728017/#48728017" target="_hplink">NewsNation with Tamron Hall</a>.

  • Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.)

    "Like Joe Biden's comments last week, I find Todd Akin's comments made Sunday to be just as outrageous and offensive. Such insulting and offensive remarks from Joe Biden and Todd Akin have no place in our political discourse," said Mack in a <a href="http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2012/08/connie-mack-cosponsor-of-forcible-rape-bill-links-akins-legitimate-rape-with-bidens-chains-.html" target="_hplink">press release</a>.

  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.)

  • Cindy McCain

  • Former Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.)

    Talent, who once held the Senate seat Akin is running for, declined to endorse Akin on Monday. "It's a decision he has to make," Talent said when asked whether Akin should step aside, according to the <a href="http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-todd-akin-stay-in-senate-race-20120820,0,2849040.story" target="_hplink"><em>Los Angeles Times</em></a>. "I can't agree with anything [Akin] said," Talent later clarified.

  • Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)

    "Now, Akin's choice of words isn't the real issue here. The <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/08/dnc-email-ties-romney-to-todd-akin-132522.html" target="_hplink">real issue</a> is a Republican party -- led by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- whose policies on women and their health are dangerously wrong. I'm outraged at the Republicans trying to take women back to the dark ages -- if you agree, join me in taking a stand for women. Really, it's deeply concerning that Republicans continue to support legislation that is, quite literally, dangerous for women. Mitt Romney famously says he would "get rid of" federal funding for Planned Parenthood if he had the chance. His running mate, Paul Ryan, was one of more than 200 Republican cosponsors of a piece of legislation that would have narrowed the definition of rape. Can you imagine -- the same Republican House that refuses to pass a jobs bill jumped at the opportunity to make life harder for victims of rape? And what do Romney and Ryan think of Akin's latest statement? They've been trying to distance themselves from it -- but Congressman Ryan has already partnered with Akin on a whole host of issues that restrict women's ability to make their own health care decisions."

  • Sarah Steelman, Akin's Former Primary Opponent

  • Meghan McCain

  • Terry O'Neill, President Of The National Organization For Women

    "That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims. ... That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women," she told the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/20/todd-akin-rape-comments_n_1810362.html?1345468189" target="_hplink">Associated Press radio</a>, characterizing the remarks as "flat-out astonishing."

  • Mike Murphy, GOP Consultant

  • Michelle Malkin, Conservative Columnist

  • Joe Scarborough, Host Of MSNBC's "Morning Joe"

    "There is a rule," <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/scarborough-reacts-to-akins-rape-remark-conservatives-neglecting-to-choose-the-most-electable-candidate/" target="_hplink">he [Scarborough] continued</a>, "that we conservatives have followed for a long time, and it's the 'Bill Buckley Rule.' You elect the most electable conservative. The person who is the most conservative and who is the most electable is the one you put on the ticket. That's the part of the equation that we're losing over the last three years. And it's making Harry Reid the majority leader."

  • Bryan Fischer, Conservative Radio Host

  • Tom Perriello, President Of Center For American Progress Action Fund

  • Petition By The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee

    <blockquote><a href="http://dccc.org/pages/denounce-todd-akin?source=2012.08.20_kw_all" target="_hplink">Sign your name to call</a> on Speaker John Boehner to remove Rep. Todd Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee. Republican Congressman Todd Akin told a Missouri news station: "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare... If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Someone who believes nonsense like this has no part overseeing science policy. Tell Speaker Boehner to immediately remove Rep. Akin from the House Science and Technology Committee.</blockquote>

  • Susan B. Anthony List

    <blockquote>"Congressman Akin, a longtime pro-life leader, has said he had misspoken, and no one is arguing that rape is anything but a despicable, horrible crime. "Abortion supporters like Sen. Claire McCaskill are trying to use this issue as a smokescreen to hide from their radical, pro-abortion records that are out of step with the majority of Missourians and the American people. On the issues of taxpayer funding of elective abortion in Obamacare, protection of unborn girls being targeted in the womb solely because of their gender, and whether children capable of feeling pain in the womb should be protected, President Obama and Senator McCaskill have been on the wrong side, showing that they favor abortion on-demand, for any reason, up to the moment of birth, subsidized by the taxpayers. "If President Obama and Senator McCaskill care to focus on extreme positions, it is time for self reflection. It is time to answer the question why this president has recently rejected bans on gender selection and late term abortions. "Todd Akin, on the other hand, has a record of voting to protect human life. His opponent does not. Congressman Akin has been an excellent partner in the fight for the unborn."</blockquote>

  • Tea Party Express

    <a href="http://www.teapartyexpress.org/5205/tea-party-express-urges-rep-akin-to-step-down" target="_hplink">Tea Party Express</a>, the nation's largest tea party political action committee, is urging Congressman Todd Akin to resign his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer said, "Congressman Akin's comments this weekend are not just unfortunate and inappropriate, but they are distracting from our main goal of defeating Claire McCaskill and taking the Senate gavel out of the hands of Harry Reid. At a time when our national debt is approaching $16 trillion, job growth is stagnate, and the Senate has failed to pass a budget in over 3 years, we need a candidate that is ready to help lead the charge for conservative solutions. "One of the lessons we learned in 2010 is that we need candidates who are not only conservative, but are capable of putting together a strong campaign against liberal opponents. Akin's frequent 'Bidenisms' are distracting from the important issues at hand. "It is critical that we defeat Senator Claire McCaskill in November, but it will be too difficult to achieve that with Todd Akin as the conservative alternative. He should step down and give conservatives a chance at taking back the Senate in November," Kremer concluded.