(CNN) – The Republican National Committee chairman called on Rep. Todd Akin Monday to exit the U.S. Senate race in Missouri, even urging the congressman not to attend the party's convention next week in Tampa.
"I would prefer that Todd Akin do the right thing for our party and our candidates, and I would prefer him not come," Reince Priebus said on CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront."
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
Akin, a Missouri Republican, has faced severe backlash from both Republicans and Democrats since making a controversial comment Sunday regarding rape and pregnancy. The six-term congressman, who recently became the GOP challenger against incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, said in a television interview that a woman's body is capable of preventing pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
Following an uproar over his remark, he apologized in a radio interview on Monday, saying he meant to say "forcible rape" and acknowledged that women "do become pregnant" during such instances.
But Akin insisted he would continue to pursue his Senate bid. Later on Twitter, he vowed to stay in the race and called on supporters to donate to his campaign.
Priebus, however, joined a chorus of Republicans urging Akin to drop out of the running.
"If it was me, and I wouldn't say anything that dumb as he has, but if it was me, and I had an opportunity to let someone else run to actually give ourselves a better chance of winning, I would step aside," Priebus said.
According to Missouri election law, Akin has until Tuesday evening to drop out of the race with little difficulty. He can choose to withdraw at a later date, but such an exit would require more paperwork and involve a court order. It would also give Republicans less time to build a campaign for the new nominee against McCaskill, a Democrat the GOP deems vulnerable in this year's election.
Referring to Akin's statement as "biologically stupid" and "bizarre," Priebus on Monday said he's "hopeful" the congressman hears the numerous calls for his departure from the race.
"This is not mainstream talk that he's referring to and his descriptions of whatever an illegitimate rape is. We're hoping he hears these things," Priebus said.
– CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.