Today on the Mike Huckabee show (and again immediately following on Dana Loesch’s program), Rep. Todd Akin told Americans that he has no intention of dropping out of his Senate race. Akin caused a firestorm earlier this week after remarks about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy. Despite calls from every corner of the GOP establishment and Tea Party for Akin to step aside before the 5 p.m. central time deadline, Akin has refused.
Judging from Akin’s interview with Huckabee today, it doesn’t appear he fully comprehends why the level of outrage is where it is, nor does he grasp just how much anger he has instigated from across the political spectrum. Akin told Huckabee: “It does seem to be a little bit of an overreaction.” He explained that he misspoke “one word in one sentence in one day.”
How could Akin get the public sentiment so wrong with a bipartisan chorus as loud as the one is calling for him to step down? One likely explanation is who comprises his inner circle. In early January, Akin fired most of his senior staff (his campaign manager, finance director and a general consultant) and installed his son, Perry, as campaign manager. His wife also has “been a regular presence on the campaign trail since he was first elected to the Missouri State House in 1988” (this quote unfortunately comes from a disgusting hit piece from the Daily Beast on Mrs. Akin). Those surrounding Akin on his campaign have a personal, vested interest in his remaining in the race, and are less able to see his remarks as objectively as a campaign strategist might if they were not directly related to the candidate.
While one withdrawal deadline is apparently 5 p.m. central today, Akin has as late as September 25 to remove himself from the ballot. Politico explains,
Republicans in Washington were watching nervously ahead of a 6 p.m. EDT deadline for Akin to leave the race so Missouri Republican leaders could easily pick a replacement. The process for dropping out after Tuesday evening becomes far more cumbersome: Akin would have to petition a court to get out of the race before Sept. 25.
It’s unlikely that Akin will suddenly come to his senses before that deadline either, perhaps barring a total financial collapse of his campaign, which is a distinct possibility. “About a dozen GOP senators were scheduled to co-host a fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Sept. 19, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, NRSC Chairman John Cornyn, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and tea party favorite Mike Lee of Utah. All have since backed out of the event, a Republican source told POLITICO.”
It became apparent yesterday, however, just how much of an uphill financial battle Akin would face and when Huckabee asked about the financial difficulties his campaign would face, Akin seemed to hold out hope for a large contingent of dedicated small donors to carry his campaign through to November. It would take an ad-buy with a budget the size of most small countries to undo the damage that Akin has done, and without any major financial backing, that looks to be an almost impossible battle. With Akin’s decision today to remain in the race, it appears Republicans may have lost hope for a majority in the Senate, and as Jonathan pointed out, a chance at defeating ObamaCare.