Todd Akin Says He’s Staying In The Race

Todd Akin says he will continue to be the Republican nominee for United States Senate from Missouri.

Technically, there are still just a bit more than three hours left for Congressman Todd Akin to advise Missouri election officials that he is dropping out of the race for Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat and not worry about having to pay any penalties or seek judicial permission. However, just minutes ago on Mike Huckabee’s radio show, the embattled Senate candidate, who has abandoned by pretty much every major Republican politician and pundit, says he’s staying in the race:

In case it wasn’t clear, Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) went on Mike Huckabee’s radio show again Tuesday and declared, “We are going to continue this race for the U.S. Senate.”

The embattled Missouri Senate candidate is casting his campaign not just as a fight against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) but as a grassroots charge against the GOP brass.

“We believe taking this stand is going to strengthen our country — going to strengthen, ultimately, the Republican Party,” he said. “What we’re doing here is standing on a principle of what America is.”

Powerful Republicans both inside and outside the state have called on Akin to end his bidover his comments on “legitimate rape.” But 24 hours of lobbying appears to have only strengthened the congressman’s resolve.

Akin said that “good friends, closer than brothers” had also asked him to stick it out. “I believe there’s a cause here and a part of the message that’s missing.” He added that he has received “continuing calls from other congressman” expressing their support. (He did not name any of these congressman.)

And he suggested that the calls to end his campaign simply weren’t fair. “I haven’t done anything morally or ethically wrong,” he said. “It does seem like a little bit of an overreaction.”

Akin seems hung up on the idea that he’s being punished for one word he used in the interview on Sunday, the word “legitimate” before “rape.” During the colloquy with Huckabee, he mentioned repeatedly the idea that women will lie about being raped in order to obtain an abortion, like Norma McCorvey, the Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, supposedly did back in the early 1970s. Of course, it’s worth noting that McCorvey did so in the context of a Texas law that made it impossible for anyone who wasn’t raped to obtain an abortion unless their was a medical necessity. The idea that women are lying today about being raped to get abortions is, quite simply, absurd, and an effort by Akin and his supporters to deflect attention from the fact that (1) he thinks there’s such a thing a “legitimate rape,” and (2) that even a woman who is “legitimately raped” should not be allowed to get an abortion.

Akin’s statement comes just after Senator Roy Blunt was joined by four other former Republican Missouri Senators (John Danforth, John Ashcroft, Kit Bond, and Jim Talent) in calling on Akin to step down, becoming just the latest major Republicans to do so but the first prominent Missouri Republicans to make the call. Akin, however, does not seem inclined to listen.

With time still left there is still the possibility, of course, that someone will cause him to change his mind. One possibility that was discussed this morning is that Akin would trade places with Ann Wagner, who won the nomination for Akin’s Congressional seat. Wagner was an Ambassador to Luxembourg during the Bush Administration and has been a prominent player in Republican politics in Missouri and nationally for years. The imagery of replacing Akin with a woman after his comments is, of course, rather obvious. If Akin isn’t willing to take the deal, though, or otherwise get out of the way, there’s really nothing that the GOP can do here to force him. As I noted yesterday, there’s still the possibility that he could get off the ballot between tomorrow and September 25th, but it would require judicial approval and for Akin’s campaign to pick up the cost of reprinting ballots. No doubt, there will be pressure on Akin between now and then, and if he plunges in the polls Republicans nationwide will have a strong argument to present to him, but it’s still up to him. Based on what he said on Huckabee’s show, I don’t think he’s at all inclined to get out, either now or by September 25th.

This presents big problems for the Republican Party, quite obviously. It pretty much guarantees that Akin’s name will remain in the news cycle in the run-up to the Republican Convention will be about Todd Akin, rape, and abortion. It also means that the Democrats are going to continue bringing up the connections between Akin’s views on abortion and Paul Ryan’s views on abortion that I mentioned in an earlier post. We’ll likely see commercials about this too. Then, there’s the high probability that, at some point between now and Election Day, Akin will say more stupid things that will draw national attention, divert attention away from what should be the GOP’s top issue, the economy, and focus it on issues that help the Democrats, and suck the news cycle away from Romney/Ryan. This isn’t going to end well, I think.

Update: For some reason, comments weren’t being allowed on this post. I’ve fixed that.

Update #2:  The 5pm CT deadline has passed, and Akin is still in the race.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, 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. michael reynolds says:

    Why shouldn’t he stay in? He embodies the Tea Party Republican.

    This is the monster you get when you think you’re just voting for small government. This is the heart and soul of the real GOP.

  2. Spartacus says:

    Doug,

    You’re being totally unfair to Akin if he is, as you say, trying “to deflect attention from the fact that (1) he thinks there’s such a thing as “legitimate rape,” and (2) that even a woman who is “legitimately raped” should not be allowed to get an abortion.” His views on these two points are substantively the same as Paul Ryan’s views.

    Ryan doesn’t use the term “legitimate rape,” but he does use the term “forcible rape” to establish, like Akin, two different classes of rape victims. The rights (and funding) available for one class of rape victims is demonstrably different from the rights and funding for the other class of rape victims. Yet, not only is there not any outrage over Ryan’s views, the guy is the GOP’s choice for VP.

  3. CSK says:

    Dear Santa,

    Please disregard all letters I sent you prior to the primary. I just got EVERYTHIIIIINNNG I want for Christmas.

    Love,
    Claire

  4. Latino_in_Boston says:

    “This isn’t going to end well, I think.”

    Right. For all involved. And it couldn’t happen to worse candidates than Romney/Ryan.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What happened this afternoon? You guys get hit by a DOS attack? (I told James he was going to be tarred and feathered) I could barely get you and never mind commenting on this thread. (Or any other for that matter) Fortunately for you, I no longer can remember what it was I wanted to say.

  6. al-Ameda says:

    Thank god Claire was able to get through to him, and reassure him that staying in the race is the right thing for him to do.

  7. legion says:

    I’ve seen several sources point out why there was really never any doubt Akin would stay in – he’s 65, and he had to ditch his comfy House position to run for Senate. He’s at the end of his career, and this run is all he’s got left. there is frankly nothing the GOP has to either offer him or threaten him with to get him out of this race – he’s already “all in”.

  8. Tsar Nicholas says:

    If McCaskill loses to this turkey she should hop into the next spaceship and exile herself from the earth. I’m not entirely convinced that she won’t lose, by the way. Don’t underestimate the ability of Zombieland to tune out the media and the chattering classes and to go in their own direction. Shit, in August 2006 George Allen had the “Macaca” blow up. In November 2006, however, during a horrible cycle for the GOP at large, Allen received 49% and came within 8,000 votes out of more than 2.3 million cast of hanging onto his seat.

    As far as Akin goes, one thing about the thumpers is that they don’t lack persistence. That and there’s no real downside for him to stay in the race. As Akin and his ilk view the world if he loses it’s God’s will and if he wins it’s God’s will. Akin’s covered both ways.

  9. Jib says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: She was toast before this, or at least before the primary.No one thought the dems would hold this seat. But she came up in the polls head to head with Akin even before this blow up and now she should rise some more.

    But there is a limit to how high she will go. MO is an interesting place, a bunch of different states all rolled into one. The northern section is classic mid-western moderate repub, which these days means dems, color it purple. KC and Stl are blue, and the southern part is hard core tea party, reddest of the red. Akin is not that radical for the south, the cities were never going to vote for him and so this will end up with the moderate repubs up north. A lot of them are pro-life but not in the case of rape or incest. McCaskill is an incumbent so they already know her and many have already voted for her. It is going to be interesting.

  10. James in LA says:

    Well, bully for Akin, he was elected by those pesky people with whom my conservative friends have a schizophrenic relationship on the best of days, you know, voters. It drags this loathsome debate into the public where perhaps it can be had for the last time at this level. We witness the mother of last gasps as the headless GOP remains unaware it has expired.

    Perhaps we can all say NO with sufficient volume to this utter, dangerous nonsense.

  11. Janis Gore says:

    Ptah. Reactionaries.

  12. Janis Gore says:

    He doesn’t look like a bad turtle.

  13. anjin-san says:

    Why should Ryan’s running buddy drop out of the race?

  14. Neil Hudelson says:

    THank God.

    Keep running, Akin. Stick to your guns. Don’t back down.

    We’re all pulling for you to stay strong.

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Pretty much every single Republican is dumping on Akin, and dumping hard.

    It’s the left that wants him to stick around, and insist that he is a true representative of the group that dumped on him and is putting as much distance between him and themselves as they can.

    Let’s all take a moment to recall that these people are the same ones (by and large) who refuse to admit that Joe Biden is a marginally-functional imbecile, and put John Edwards up for vice-president. Just to name two prime examples. Plenty more are on tap — and in far more significant positions than Congressman Akin.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Pretty much every single Republican is dumping on Akin, and dumping hard.

    Like Paul Ryan, the intellectual titan of the right. He has worked closely with Akin on legislation restricting women’s rights on more than one occasion. So was he ignorant of what Akin is really about then, or is he bailing on an old friend who simply misspoke now because it is politically expedient?

    Clueless or spineless?

  17. bill says:

    it would be really funny if he still won….but not really.

  18. Commonist says:

    Dear god, we’ve not always been on even terms, but if you want to prove you exist, afflict Akin’s children with something that makes them die screaming.

    Yours most sincerely,

    a regular human being with decent morals.

  19. Hey, hey, hey! We should stop being so hard on Todd Akins. I mean, he’s dreamed of this senate run ever since he was a young mutant growing up in the hard-scrabble sewers of New New York.

  20. MarkedMan says:

    What is the right’s fixation on Joe Biden? Yeah, the guy shoots off his mouth too quickly. But let’s not forget that multiple President’s, Democrats and Republicans, have seen fit to send Joe in to deal with some pretty troublesome foreign situations. He was always considered by the foreign policy crowd to have good contacts, great instincts and the ability to, at minimum, not make things worse, and when the circumstances were right, get something done.

    But to the True Believer’s he is the stupidest man alive. Why? Why is he even noticed by them?

  21. Commonist says:

    @MarkedMan:

    These are the same “people” who think Obama is the worst ever while disregarding his starting baseline – which shows he has better private job growth than the man they stood by right up until he became a liability to them.

    There are no sane republicans. There are no moderate republicans. There are no centrist republicans.

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Like Paul Ryan, the intellectual titan of the right. He has worked closely with Akin on legislation restricting women’s rights on more than one occasion. So was he ignorant of what Akin is really about then, or is he bailing on an old friend who simply misspoke now because it is politically expedient?

    So, you’d be more favorably inclined towards Ryan if he wasn’t distancing himself from Akin? Get effing honest. Whatever Ryan does, you’ll say it was the worst possible choice.

    And just how “close” were Ryan and Akin? Oh, they co-sponsored a bill that declared that human life begins at conception. More specifically, they were two of 65 sponsors of the bill, and neither was the primary sponsor.

    But compared to the last few Democratic veep nominees, Ryan’s a superstar. Biden, the functional retard. Edwards, the scumbag supreme. Lieberman, the “too sane to be allowed to stay in the party” guy.

  23. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @MarkedMan: What is the right’s fixation on Joe Biden? Yeah, the guy shoots off his mouth too quickly. But let’s not forget that multiple President’s, Democrats and Republicans, have seen fit to send Joe in to deal with some pretty troublesome foreign situations. He was always considered by the foreign policy crowd to have good contacts, great instincts and the ability to, at minimum, not make things worse, and when the circumstances were right, get something done.

    But to the True Believer’s he is the stupidest man alive. Why? Why is he even noticed by them?

    Yeah, how DARE right-wingers pay more attention to the sitting Vice President of the United States than a Congressman running for Senate?

    We keep hearing how brilliant Joe Biden is on foreign affairs. But concrete examples of his brilliance? Let’s see. He voted against the 1991 Iraq for, for the 2002 invasion, and against the surge. He put forth a plan for Iraq that unified the Iraqi elements — in opposing it. (Slow Joe wanted to partition Iraq into three states.) And let’s not forget his talks about Indians — they own all the convenience stores!

    Joe Biden in a nutshell: the guy routinely spouts incredibly wrong and stupid things, but he gets a pass because everyone knows he’s not malicious, he just really is that stupid and actually believes his own BS.

    And Joe is one heartbeat away from the presidency. Right where Obama put him.

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Slight clarification: Biden was referring to people from India, not Native Americans, owning all the convenience stores and Dunkin Donuts.

  25. @MarkedMan:

    What is the right’s fixation on Joe Biden?

    I dunno. What was the left’s fixation on the stupid things said by Dan Quayle? Or George Bush? Both sides likes to focus on stupid things the other side says so they can feel superior about their own intelligence.

  26. Jen says:

    It’s interesting to watch the Tea Party turn on one of their own. Sarah Palin is now pushing for a third party candidate if Akin isn’t out by September. Depending on who that candidate is, that could well and truly win the race for McCaskill.

  27. sam says:

    @13 Writing from his bottomless well of political idiocy:

    And just how “close” were Ryan and Akin? Oh, they co-sponsored a bill that declared that human life begins at conception. More specifically, they were two of 65 sponsors of the bill, and neither was the primary sponsor.

    They are this close:

    The Romney-Ryan campaign has come out with escalating rejections of Akin’s remarks. Yet Ryan and Akin are in the mainstream of the prevailing House Republican view on abortion.

    Not only did Akin and Ryan co-sponsor legislation redefining rape, Ryan ran for Congress as a strong pro-lifer and has a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee. “This includes support for the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” the committee notes. Last year Ryan and Akin were co-sponsors of the Sanctity of Human Life Act, also known as “personhood” legislation, which would give a fertilized egg the same rights as a human being and would outlaw some forms of birth control.

    [ Todd Akin and Paul Ryan Are More Alike Than You Think]

    But you and the rest of the Stupid Party keep stamping your little feet and sputtering, “But they are so different…” See who buys that bullshit.

  28. Rob in CT says:

    Shorter Jenos:

    Angle the deflectors!

    😉

  29. PD Shaw says:

    My prediction is Akin wins the seat. Less a comment on Akin as it is on McCaskill’s high job disapproval ratings and poor political skills.

  30. J-Dub says:

    @MarkedMan: Quiz: Who is more stupid, the person who thinks Wall Street is mostly comprised of greedy bastards or the guy who thinks that a uterine rape filter exists?

    Despite his gargantuan head, I think Akin might be the stupid one here.

  31. Jib says:

    @Jen: No, the tea party is not turning on Akin, not the real MO TP, which is the only one that counts in this case. Palin does not talk for the TP, neither does Tea Party Express.

    Although the press and DC crowd dont like it, the TP is like the Occupy movement, a leaderless, self-organizing social network. They talk about this at church and lunch and work and decide where they stand. They dont listen to anybody from the outside, that is what the whole TP thing is about, they hate the national repubs ALMOST as much as Obama and the dems.

    I have had family living in NW Ark and SW MO for over 100 years. They moved there from Tenn, Kentucky and NC so I come from a long line of hill-billys and one thing about hill-billys, they really dont like outsiders telling them what to do. I knew as soon as I heard the national repubs going after him that he would stay and the TP in MO would support him. I dont think the others in the state will but the MO TP will continue to support him.

    It will be interesting if this has put the state in play for Obama. Akins is a wedge between more moderate repubs and the TP. That is why repubs nationally ran from him so fast.

  32. rudderpedals says:

    I have some small amount of faith in the voters. Missourans did after all a dead guy over John Ashcroft a while back.

  33. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Let’s all take a moment to recall that these people are the same ones (by and large) who refuse to admit that Joe Biden is a marginally-functional imbecile, and put John Edwards up for vice-president. Just to name two prime examples. Plenty more are on tap — and in far more significant positions than Congressman Akin.

    Let’s take a moment to recall that most of the conservative Republican base is less intellectually capable than a bag of Doritos. And really, was John Edwards more deserving of contempt than Vice President Spiro Agnew?

    More to come, indeed.

  34. sam says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Don’t waste your bytes. That’s 13’s (and almost all the other righties) default argument: “Well, you guys….”

    Pathetic, really.

  35. sam says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Less a comment on Akin as it is on McCaskill’s high job disapproval ratings and poor political skills.

    As opposed to Akin’s unmatched political skills? Really?

  36. G.A. says:

    This is the monster you get when you think you’re just voting for small government. This is the heart and soul of the real GOP.

    Why is he a monster you clown?

    I do believe he is an idiot after hearing his reasons for what he said and for why he is staying in the race.

  37. CSK says:

    @Jen:

    Miss Sarah should have checked the Missouri voting laws before pontificating. The deadline for filing for third party has long since passed, and in any case, Steelman and Brunner are prohibited from running either as third party candidates or as write-in candidates.

    In any case, a third party candidate would just give McCaskill an even bigger landslide.

  38. anjin-san says:

    The Romney-Ryan campaign has come out with escalating rejections of Akin’s remarks

    The Romney/Ryan position is clear. Women will not be allowed to control their own bodies – rich men will make the decisions for them.

    In other news, a guy who does not sound like he is bright enough to have a successful career in pizza delivery foams at the mouth whenever Biden’s name comes up.

  39. bk says:

    Akin is now blaming the “liberal elites” for trying to get him out of the race. You know – Hannity, Palin, Romney, Erick son of Erick…

  40. PD Shaw says:

    @sam: We’ll see if Akin can correct himself; I don’t know much about him other than a ten secon sound bite (but I share Prof. Taylor’s views on what to make of it). McCaskill’s problem is trying to take advantage of this turn in fortunes without making abortion the central issue of the race in a pro-life state.

  41. legion says:

    @bk: That’s insanely hilarious. Literally the _only_ people telling him to get out are other conservatives.

  42. PJ says:

    If Akin loses, does that mean that he wasn’t conservative enough?
    If Akin wins and Romney loses, does that mean that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, and that he should have adopted Akin’s ideas instead of shunning him?

  43. J-Dub says:

    If Akin wins and Romney loses, does that mean that Romney wasn’t conservative enough, and that he should have adopted Akin’s ideas instead of shunning him?

    That means Akin-Bachmann 2016!

  44. Jen says:

    @Jib: I’m very familiar with Missouri political dynamics–I worked in politics there, albeit a long time ago.

    I would be surprised–no, utterly shocked–if Missouri went to Obama, over this or any other issue. I still think there is a chance Akin could win this seat, for the very reason you articulate: Missourians hate to be told what to do or how to vote.

    @CSK–of course, you are correct. I’d forgotten the laws surrounding third parties in Missouri. There’s no chance for Sarah to back Sarah (Steelman) as a 3P.

  45. anjin-san says:

    Ryan more extreme than Akin

    Bloomberg notes that since Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was first elected in 1998, he “hasn’t voted against any bills backed by the National Right to Life Committee. The group gives him a lifetime voting score of 100 percent.”

    The group scored Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) “at 90 percent support during one of his six terms and at 100 percent for the rest of his tenure. Akin cosponsored every abortion bill supported by Ryan in the almost 12 years the two Republicans have served together in Washington.”