Update5: I can confirm from a Republican source close to Strategy Group for Media, Todd Akin’s media firm, that he currently plans to stay in. As the liberal blog Plunderbund is reporting, Akin is in discussions with his consultants about the race, although I can’t confirm they’re happening in Ohio and not via conference call. What I can say is, per my experience working in Ohio, SGM is great at what they do but they’re also likely to advise Akin to stay in to continue collecting a paycheck. They worked on Bachmann’s White House bid until the bitter end, for example. Akin is in, for now.
Update4: Staffer on NRCC saying Akin’s out: “Ok, my source was wrong.”
Update3: Are Buzzfeed and NRCC jumping the gun? This is a quote from moments ago on Hannity Radio:
Akin: "I'm announcing today that we're going to stay in"
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) August 20, 2012
Update2: A source tells me the NRCC has placed calls to House campaigns assuring them that Akin is withdrawing and that the issue will be buried (hopefully) by that announcement.
Update: Buzzfeed is now reporting that Akin is taking concrete steps to end his bid before tomorrow’s important 5 P.M. deadline. Interestingly, they’re reporting that possible replacements do not include businessman Jon Brunner or State Treasurer Sarah Steelman, but rather former Senators Ashcroft, Talent and Bond.
It’s the first big blowup of the Battle for the U.S. Senate in 2012. Todd Akin, the most conservative (and up until this controversy, my preferred) candidate of the Republican field, won his primary, and the right to face Claire McCaskill. He couldn’t even make it into September without shooting his campaign in the foot with a statement on abortion:
Akin’s comments were radical, as studies show that yes, women do get pregnant from “legitimate” rape. I actually favor Akin’s overall abortion position, which says that we should punish the rapist, not the unborn child because of the actions of a psychopath. Still, the way he worded it, non-chilantly arguing a reasonable position with unreasonable rhetoric, makes me question whether he can beat McCaskill and not cause collateral damage to the GOP brand. It goes to show you that picking a sitting Congressman doesn’t mean you’re necessarily picking a gaffe-free candidate.
The long knives are out for Akin, and calls have begun for him to drop his bid and let someone else run for the seat. U.S. Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) is one of the first to make that direct call:
“As a husband and father of two young women, I found Todd Akin’s comments 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.”
It was the Republican voters of Missouri that chose Akin, and ultimately it will be between the Congressman and the GOP in Missouri to decide the best course of action. Could this blow over? Sure, but if it doesn’t it makes taking back the U.S. Senate an almost impossible task. Maybe Akin should step aside.