Republicans Planning Write-In Candidate Against Akin?

Mary Matalin suggested on ABC News’s This Week that top Republicans are planning to fund a write-in candidate against Todd Akin if he fails to remove himself from the Missouri Senate race: 

This morning on ABC News, however, Mary Matalin — a well-connected GOP operative — suggested that Republicans would run a write-in candidate to defeat Akin. Matlin said that, if necessary, Republicans would “transfer the money” to Ann Wagner — a former chairwoman of the Missouri GOP who is currently running for Congress — to run as a 3rd party or write-in candidate. Transcript:

Matalin: We are going to win Missouri and Wagner is going to be our candidate.The party is going to get Ann Wagner in.

Stephanapolous: So you are just convinced he’s going to get out

Matalin: Or we’ll run a third party, we’ll run a write-in. We can do it. We have the money to do it. We are going to transfer the money. It’s not as easy. But it’s a good state for Romney and we will get it back.

Since it’s still early, the transcript from this morning’s show hasn’t been posted, but I’ll get it up as soon as it’s available.

I’m not familiar with Missouri’s write-in rules, but my understanding is that it would be possible to mount such a campaign as long as the candidate in question did not run for the party nomination for the same seat. Additionally, Wagner’s name was in the news last week as a possible replacement for Akin. The only possible problem here is that Wagner is currently the GOP candidate for Akin’s Congressional seat (the plan suggested last week would have had Akin and Wagner essentially trading places on the ballot) and it’s unclear how the GOP would be able to replace her in the race since she likely cannot run for two seats at the same time. The other complication is that mounting a write-in campaign may end up helping Claire McCaskill as much as it would hurt Todd Akin. Additionally, write-in campaigns for the Senate are rarely successful, with 2010’s win by Lisa Murkowski being the first since Strom Thurmond had done it in South Carolina in 1954. Nonetheless, it seems clear that national and state Republicans remain committed to either getting Akin out of the race, or preventing him from winning if he does not.

Update: For reference, here is a summary of the write-in laws for Missouri.

Update #2: Here’s the video of Matalin’s comments:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    Wow, I think that would assure McCaskill of victory, as I don’t think that there is any way that core Akin voters are going to abandon him (at least I hope that they don’t abandon him).

  2. James in LA says:

    Ah the smell of GOP schism in the Sunday morning air…

  3. What? I thought the plan was an Akin write-in for President.

  4. CSK says:

    A write-in campaign sounds self-defeating, since all it would really do would be to split the conservative vote, which would be an outright gift to McCaskill. Matalin may be thinking that a write-in candidate would draw all the independents as well as sufficient conservatives to ensure the write-in a plurality, but from her standpoint, that seems like a very risky gamble.

    If they’re looking to Alaska as an exemplar, that was a totally different situation, as far as I can tell. Murkowski was a known quantity outside as well as inside Alaska. And didn’t her opponent Miller go off the rails with his odd response to the question of how he’d used state computers for personal business?

  5. PD Shaw says:

    @CSK: The difference with Alaska are the demographics:

    Missouri: (39%R; 37%D; 24%I)
    Alaska: (26%R; 15%D; 59%I)

    Missouri has a stronger Democratic base than Alaska and far fewer independents. A serious third-party challenge from within the Republican party would need to destroy Akin to be successful.

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Republican hypocrisy really knows no bounds. Akin is not in trouble for his beliefs, or because his beliefs differ from his party, he’s in trouble for expressing Republican views clearly. Republicans cannot speak the truth about their beliefs and win. So the entire party practices a sort of self-censorship, a desperate deception to keep independents from realizing that they are woman-hating, gay-bashing, race-baiting, immigrant-scapegoating goons.

    There is no distance between Akin’s views and Paul Ryan’s. The only difference is that Akin said what he believes, whereas Ryan has now been house-broken. He’s Mitt Romney’s new Seamus — muzzled and strapped to the roof.

    As a public service, let me translate the GOP platform from Republican to English:

    1) Raped? Too bad. Have the baby and raise it on your own, honey, ’cause you get no social safety net.

    2) Fag*ots are dirty and disgusting and should be second-class citizens at best, oppressed in every way we can get away with.

    3) Mexicans should be shot coming across the border.

    4) Poor people? Let them beg for scraps.

    5) Barack Obama is a nig*er! You don’t want a nig*er as president, do you?

    That’s your real GOP, as opposed to the fantasy Beltway GOP James Joyner and the six remaining decent Republicans see in their imaginations. And Todd Akin fits perfectly in that real GOP.

  7. CSK says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Thank you. I think they’ll end up living with Akin if he doesn’t bail on his own, which seems unlikely given his conviction that he’s on a divine mission.

  8. Me Me Me says:

    God, that would be teh awesome. McCaskill could just keep all her advertising money in the bank and let it accumulate interest until 6 years from now when she’ll be up for re-election again.

  9. @michael reynolds:

    On that, I found this quote funny:

    “I’m concerned over the long haul, for sure,” [Jeb] Bush said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “Our demographics are changing. And we have to change not necessarily our core beliefs, but the tone of our message and our message and the intensity of it, for sure. … This is going to be a close election. Long-term, if conservatives principles our going to be successful and implemented, there has to be a concerted effort to reach out to a broader audience than we do today.”

    Emphasis mine. They don’t really get it, do they? The “message not beliefs” game is up.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    See, they just need a new way to explain to women that they are property within a patriarchy. It’s all in how you explain to women, gays, African-Americans and Hispanics that they’re inferior and living in a white man’s world. Probably they just need some LOLcats. Everyone loves LOLcats.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Me Me Me:

    God, that would be teh awesome. McCaskill could just keep all her advertising money in the bank and let it accumulate interest until 6 years from now when she’ll be up for re-election again.

    Not at today’s interest rates – Money Market interest rates at 1% or less
    I’d advise her to invest in common equities or junk bonds.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    @john personna:

    “Our demographics are changing. And we have to change not necessarily our core beliefs, but the tone of our message …”

    Did he mean that the GOP needs a Code of Silence, some kind of Republican Omerta?

    Because I don’t know how you can modulate the tone of “women should not have control over their reproductive choices,” or “most Hispanics are here illegally,” or “gay marriage has caused a 50% divorce rate for the rest of us” or “Science is biased,” to make it palatable to women under the age of 70, Hispanics and Latinos, or gay men and women, and college educated men and women.

  13. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The Democrats spent millions boosting Akin in the primary. Will they keep backing him in the general?

  14. Jen says:

    I don’t get how this would work–Wagner is already the candidate for Akin’s open Congressional seat–wouldn’t she then have to do the court-ordered ballot withdrawal?

    Ann is great, a party stalwart who has been involved in Missouri politics for a long time. But I think there’s a solid chance of a Tea Party vs. Establishment candidate possibility if they do this. I suppose it depends on how pragmatic Akin’s supporters are.

  15. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I would hope that they are not as lame as the average Republican voter, and will support Claire McCaskill in the general.

  16. CSK says:
  17. stonetools says:

    Ah the smell of GOP schism in the Sunday morning air…

    Usually its the Democrats who do the circular firing squad thing……

    Its is amusing to see the Republicans running from a guy who simply is saying openly what the Republicans believe in private, and even say in their little read platform documents. .

  18. Septimius says:

    @michael reynolds:

    As a public service, let me translate the GOP platform from Republican to English:

    1) Raped? Too bad. Have the baby and raise it on your own, honey, ’cause you get no social safety net.

    2) Fag*ots are dirty and disgusting and should be second-class citizens at best, oppressed in every way we can get away with.

    3) Mexicans should be shot coming across the border.

    4) Poor people? Let them beg for scraps.

    5) Barack Obama is a nig*er! You don’t want a nig*er as president, do you?

    That’s a very thoughtful description of the Republican Party you have there. And yet, Republicans have no problem winning elections. Let’s take a quick tally. Republicans currently control 56% of seats in the House of Representatives, 47% of seats in the Senate, 60% of Governorships, 60% of State Legislative chambers, and the Republican nominee for Presidents is, at worst, just a few points behind in the polls less than three months from the election. It must really suck living in a country that is so racist, sexist, homophobic, and indifferent to the plight of the poor. I’m not quite sure how you do it.

  19. giantslor says:

    it’s a good state for Romney and we will get it back.

    That’s all you need to know. The write-in campaign is all about winning Missouri for Romney at the expense of probably sacrificing a Senate seat.

  20. Jen says:

    @CSK: Exactly–I think it will help McCaskill. They are assuming that because she is so unpopular that Akin’s support would bolt en masse to back Wagner. I think that’s a risky bet, they are seriously underestimating the very hard-core anti-abortion people in Missouri who are supportive of Akin’s stance (and, if his Facebook page is any indication, they are supportive of his comments, too).

    Certainly isn’t a boring year, I’ll give them that.

  21. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    I’m thinking that it’s not so much Akin’s anti-abortion stance that those who still love him, love about him. (How hard can it be to find an anti-abortion Republican in Missouri, after all? They have plenty from whom to pick.) What they love is his “legitimate rape” comment in all its fantastically ignorant glory. It confirms their view that women are inherently sluttish and irresponsible.

  22. @Septimius:

    Good comment. For what it’s worth though, I think the explanation is that this is a collision between Right identity politics and a world the Right created.

  23. (I mean, ask yourself exactly why George W. Bush is a non-person.)

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Septimius:

    It must really suck living in a country that is so racist, sexist, homophobic, and indifferent to the plight of the poor. I’m not quite sure how you do it.

    As one who lives in Bumfwck MO, yes it does suck. As to how I do it, I bite my tongue a lot (I carry a gun, but so do they, and there are a whole lot more of them) and I drink a lot of Scotch (there is a hardware store just a few miles down the interstate that has the most GLORIOUS selection of single malts called the “Bourbon Family Center” (yes. there is a town in Bible Belt MO called “Bourbon”)(12 churches, 12! 8 of them have “Baptist” in their name) everything from 18 yr old Mcallan to Oban to Glen Morangie) (think about it…. the Bourbon Family Center…. Scotch…. Yes, we have our priorities straight)

    Republicans currently control 56% of seats in the House of Representatives, 47% of seats in the Senate, 60% of Governorships, 60% of State Legislative chambers,

    Your point is what? That Americans are stupid? Guess what doofus, WTF do think we have been screaming about all this time? We are just surprised that you have so much company in the crazy house.

    and the Republican nominee for Presidents is, at worst, just a few points behind in the polls less than three months from the election.

    And guess what? You are just stupid enuf to vote for him…. even tho everything he now says he is for, he was against just 2 decades ago, 2 terms ago, 2 yrs ago, 2 months ago, 2 wks ago, 2 days ago, 2hrs ago….

    Do you have a clue of what you will be voting for? We know you don’t have a clue of what you are voting against.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @john personna:

    Good comment.

    Must disagree John. Let me quote what he said:

    It must really suck living in a country that is so racist, sexist, homophobic, and indifferent to the plight of the poor.

    So…. according to him, there is no racism if the racists continue to get elected? There is no sexism if the the sexists keep getting elected? No homophobia if the homophobes keep getting elected? And no indifference to the poor if the indifferent keep getting elected?

    As Doug is so fond of pointing out, we don’t live in a democracy, we live in a republic.

  26. Smooth Jazz says:

    WTF??? Only Liberals visit and post on this blog now? Good Lord: Not that long ago, James Joyner had a nice mix of conservatives,moderates and Liberals posting on his blog. These days it seems like this place has thrown its lot in with the Huffington Posts & DailyKOS & NY Times of the world: 100% Liberal, 100% of the time. I know Mr Joyner claims he’s not as conservative as he was a few years ago, but having his site evolve into a DailyKOS copycat is not what I thought he had in mind.

  27. Phillip says:

    @Septimius: Witness the power of greed, propaganda, religion, and fear bringing the “greatest nation on earth”* to its knees.

    *as a student of history and philosophy I find this characterization utterly megalomaniacal and worthy of scorn.

  28. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I’m giving Septimius some points for good data and giving him some space on his hyperbole.

    It is true that the GOP locks up a lot of votes. It is half the story in a divided country.

    What I’d engage with is whether those Republican voters are voting their current reality, or an imagined world that “teh liberals” made.

  29. @Smooth Jazz:

    No, the dynamic is completely different. We center-left commenters can look forward to (lol) OTB positions that are uniformly center-right and flawed. That gives us a good starting point.

    That’s hardly OTB’s fault. It’s hard, given the current American political definition, to make a “right” argument that is not flawed.

    Remember, the RINOs are off the island.

  30. bill says:

    milking the story dry i see? who else cares anymore aside from a few losers who are trying to connect him to romney? meanwhile, obama supporter and “truck stop teenage boy abuser” gauthier is in the wind and 0 mention on this site…….awesome! sure, neither did anything illegal- immoral maybe?

  31. Liberty60 says:

    @Smooth Jazz:
    No, no, my good man.

    According to RedState and Ace O’ Spades, Lindsey Graham is a liberal, Newt a Statist, and Charlies Crist is a Socialist.

    So that makes James Joyner a hard left, card-carrying revolutionary Communist.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Septimius:

    It must really suck living in a country that is so racist, sexist, homophobic, and indifferent to the plight of the poor. I’m not quite sure how you do it.

    Well, I’m geographically free and well off enough that I can choose where I live. I don’t live around many Republicans. I can stay out of Texas and Florida and Arizona — I won’t raise my kids in those places. And if this country becomes insufferable I can always pick up and move to the UK or France or wherever. I love the US, but it’s not unconditional. If this country is going off the deep end then I move on. So, to answer your question as though it was serious, that’s how I do it: I can customize my US, and if need be I can bail.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Precisely. I’m seriously thinking of finding a job abroad if Romney gets in. Mainly because I doubt that my field (nanotech, patent prosecution) will have that much business.

    You can’t cut out federal R&D in order to balance the budget and then act surprised when your science and technology base goes downhill. I’d rather live in a country where I’m not called a feminazi elite communist for being a multilingual female with a Ph.D. in physics.