(CNN) - While Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri has pledged to continue his bid for a U.S. Senate seat, the uproar over the congressman's comments continues to snowball, with many top Republicans calling for him to reconsider his decision.
The Republican recently won his party's nomination to battle incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November's general election. He pulled out a victory in Missouri's primary earlier this month, defeating businessman John Brunner and former state treasurer Sarah Steelman in a three-way race.
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Akin has faced a surge of criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike since he claimed in an interview Sunday that "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy. He apologized for his comment Monday but said he plans to stay in the running for U.S. Senate.
If, however, he does decide to drop out, he has a short timeline to do so without wading into much paperwork. According to Missouri election law, a nominee for a statewide office can withdraw with little difficulty if they do so no later than the 11th Tuesday before the general election. This year, that particular Tuesday falls this week, on Aug. 21.
However, if the nominee wants to drop out after that date, he or she could do so if there is no additional cost for printing or reprinting ballots. The nominee may also opt to pay for those printing costs.
If that step is taken, the nominee can withdraw through a court order, but that step must be taken before the sixth Tuesday (Sept. 25) prior to the general election.
After the candidate's name is off the ballot, it's up to the state party to choose a replacement candidate. When picking a nominee, the party must meet the following requirements:
1) a majority of the members of the nominating committee must be present
2) members must be present in person to vote (with a few exceptions)
3) a majority vote of the members present is needed to nominate a candidate
4) The state party committee may not delegate its authority to any other person or group.
- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon contributed to this report.
–Watch "Piers Morgan Tonight" at 9pm ET for a live interview with Todd Akin