Todd Akin skips withdrawal deadline, stays in Senate race
WASHINGTON – Defying party leaders, Republican Todd Akin did not withdraw by Tuesday’s deadline from the Senate race in Missouri, promising – for now – a protracted campaign as his “legitimate rape” comments will be used by opponents to define the GOP.
A second day of pressure from across the GOP hierarchy apparently did little to sway Akin, who vowed to “rush into the gunfire” in a race that nonpartisan analysts said would be increasingly difficult for him to win.
The congressman appeared buoyed by support from top antiabortion leaders and a new poll that showed him very slightly ahead of his opponent, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, even though Missourians overwhelmingly disagreed with his remarks. Akin’s comments over the weekend that pregnancies from “legitimate rape” were “really rare” threw the race into turmoil. He later apologized for having misspoke.
Close of business Tuesday was the deadline under Missouri election laws for candidates to withdraw from the ballot. Akin could still withdraw by Sept. 25 with a court order, according to the Missouri secretary of state’s office.
The elections office, which is headed by the Democratic secretary of state, could object to the court order for a withdrawal, but no candidate in recent history has been denied a court order because of objections from the election officials, according to the secretary of state’s office.
Even as financial backing is drying up for Akin’s candidacy, he appears intent on using his remaining $500,000 cash on hand to push on as he seeks funds from other sources.
Some insiders believe the Akin campaign may consider Sept. 25 the hard deadline for whether to remain in the race.
The Missouri seat had been the GOP’s best chance to defeat a Democratic senator as they seek control of the chamber this cycle, but on Tuesday the nonpartisan Cook Political Report said the seat was likely to remain in the Democratic column if Akin stays in the race.