August 22nd, 2012
09:13 AM ET
6 years ago

Sources: Republicans prepare to 'grind it out' as Akin stays in

Washington (CNN) – Republicans are preparing to, in the words of one senior GOP source, “grind it out for a while” after embattled U.S. Rep. Todd Akin declared he was remaining in the race for U.S. Senate in Missouri despite calls from his party’s leadership to step aside.

Republican officials said Wednesday that they do not expect Akin to bow out of his race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill in the next few days and aren’t sure if he’ll ever drop his bid. They are, however, monitoring a few crucial dynamics in the race that will play out in the days ahead.


First is Akin’s ability to raise enough money to sustain his campaign going forward. Party leaders, including Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Sen. John Cornyn, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, have said they won’t provide Akin any campaign cash and his colleagues have canceled fundraisers scheduled for the coming weeks. Outside groups like the super PAC Crossroads GPS have also vowed not to spend any money to help Akin.

But the question remains whether there are enough grassroots activists angry at the party for bailing on Akin who are willing to give money to sustain his campaign. One Republican source said they worry he will be able to “raise money and keep it going for a while.”

Also up for debate is how much money Akin actually needs to remain competitive. The six-term congressman won the GOP primary in early August after being outspent, and has been outraised and outspent many times in his political career. Running on a shoe string is nothing new for him.


Republican Party officials are also watching to see what happens now that Akin is back in Missouri – specifically whether he feels isolated or supported in his home state. He spent the last few days at his campaign consultant’s office in Ohio, so his return home will be the first real chance to gauge his support on the ground.

GOP sources emphasize Akin is a devout evangelical Christian who believes God called on him to run. He has never had the support of the Republican Party establishment throughout his career and based on the safe margins of victory in re-election bids, he never really needed it. Thus, it doesn’t faze him now that the establishment, along with tea party groups and prominent conservative voices like Rush Limbaugh, are calling for him to get out of the way.

Republican officials also point out that Akin’s top advisers are his son and his wife, placing him in an insular environment where outside advice may not be heard. A senior GOP source concluded he “lives in a parallel universe.”

Damage to GOP

The question that remains, then, is how much Akin’s resistance to drop out will hurt the GOP.

Party officials say it hurts a lot. Republicans were relying on turning Missouri red in their bid to capture the U.S. Senate in November. Looking at the map, if they don’t win Senate seats in Montana, Wisconsin and North Dakota, and maintain hold of Massachusetts’ seat, it will be very hard to win the majority.

When it comes to Mitt Romney presidential hopes, GOP officials are upset that the furor over Akin’s comments amplifies the party platform adopted Tuesday calling for a constitutional ban on abortion that makes no exceptions for rape or incest. That’s not Romney’s position, thought it has been a platform plank for some time.

Republicans also bemoan the fact that the national discussion has turned to divisive social issues which could repel swing voters, and not on the economy which they say could attract them.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a co-chair of the Republican platform committee, said the party needed to better highlight women in leadership roles.

"We have some very articulate accomplished women who are elected officials at the local and state and the federal level, they have all shown the ability to lead and I think what people are wanting to do is to see women step forward and take a more prominent leadership role in our party," Blackburn said.

"They want to see how we're going to respond to this," she added.

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Filed under: Abortion • Missouri • Senate
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. labman57

    As many Republican politicians have anxiously gone on the airwaves to proclaim, Akin's comments were indeed quite offensive and reprehensible.

    But so have been the socially-regressive, misogynistic policy proposals emanating from House Republicans and GOP-controlled state legislatures during the past two years. Akin's remarks were a foreseeable culmination of the scientific and medical illiteracy, religiously dogmatic beliefs, and empathy-devoid chauvinistic attitudes that have dominated Republican Party politics since the 2010 mid-term elections.

    August 22, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. G A Arnold

    the media loves it when we get sucked up and distracted by stupid statements by our not too statesman like politicos. akins and joe Biden being perfect examples. Let us realize how trivial this discussion is and start thinking about the big picture and that is our economy period. When we have jobs for everyone who want to work and economy that shows some life than these other issues can be worked on.

    August 22, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The GOP expects everyone to forget about their 8 year Bush failure, and vote for Mittens, because $12 trillion in republican national debt is never enough.

    August 22, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. 8.3% unemployment - Over 8% 42 Straight months and the Obama Jobs DEPRESSION continues unabated

    What about Mr. Ryan's lock-step support of Mr. Bush? Two unfunded tax cuts paired with two unfunded wars (a first in American history BTW), the Bush Medicare debacle, the stimulus, and oh, yeah, that little economic unpleasantness in 2008?
    You mean the two wars that Democrats supported and voted for?
    And the Medicare plan that Democrats voted FOR??
    And the stimulus that the DEMOCRATS VOTED FOR because they controlled both the House and Senate???
    And the economic disaster the Democrats Houses for People Who Can't Afford Them Program caused????

    Yeah, I remember all this. Your point?

    August 22, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  5. once upon a horse

    I grew up in Missouri and once you get outside of St Louis, Kansas City and Columbia there is nothing but dead air. In other words I would not be shocked if they vote him into office with the type of mindset they have there....almost as bad as Texas where I live now a true RED STATE in every way. Remember Rush Limbaugh and Kit Bond BOTH come from Missouri..enough said!

    August 22, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. elvis

    So does the GOP want big government on social issues and small government on the economy?hhhhmm, how convenient

    August 22, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. RobK

    Politicians are such hypocrites. It was but a week ago that Democrats were moaning over the Republicans targeting Biden for his comments on blacks in chains and now they are trying to link Romney with Akin's misunderstanding. And now when some Democrat utters something foolish, the Republicans will try to hit Obama with it.

    August 22, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. ghostriter

    Go Akin GO!!!!!

    August 22, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  9. Kentucky Windage

    Congressman Akin will now recieve contributions from DEMOCRATS – MY CHECK IS IN THE MAIL ! !

    August 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Will

    This is now the national narrative. Highlights the problem of the Tea Party. Less government in our lives unless of course your a women, then we get to tell you what you can and can not do with your body.

    August 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Mary

    I've heard from so many pundits, etc., in the media who are shocked that Akin is staying in the race. However, there's something that they are not getting - to Akin, this has become more than a political race; it's a cause larger than himself. He feels called by God to stay in the race and to further the cause of abolishing all abortions.

    Obama 2012

    August 22, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. A not-so-stupid former republican

    I don't know why republicans want Akin to drop out. He mere supported the republican party's stance on abortion and women's rights. It seems disingenuous of republicans to chastise a fellow republican for telling the world what republicans stand for.

    August 22, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Lip Service - nothing more

    @ Phil muse,

    "how much of a hick state is Missouri?"

    apparently VERY! He still have supporters who reside in counties and "towns" populated by only dozens of families. You get the picture. I've been there...not by choice.

    August 22, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. RaHmoney, 2012

    The repubs certainly like to turn on their own when one of the members says something that happens to shine a little light on the illusions they have carefully crafted. They want to get rid of this guy because they fear his comments might lead to a more critical view of repub thinking on this matter and on Paul Ryan's thinking and history with Akin. They don't want the truth to come out, but want instead to keep up their facades.

    It's similar to an event that happened a few weeks ago. A Romney spokeswoman brought up Romneycare, citing that a woman who had died would have actually survived if she had lived in Romney's state, where she would have been treated under his medical plan. The whole Republican established blew up. She brought up Romneycare and reminded people about something the repubs want to keep as quiet as possible–that Romney had put together his own health plan which was in fact nearly identical to Obamacare. Ann Coulter especially went ballistic, almost screaming that, if Romney doesn't fire this girl, he doesn't deserve to be president. She called for all his donors to withhold money until she was gone. If Bill O'Reilly, who was interviewing Coulter at the time, had said the wrong thing, she probably would have decked him, she was that mad.

    They just don't want the curtain raised on the illusions they've created to make their party more acceptable. They especially don't want the facade they've created to keep their sheepies in line to be questioned.

    August 22, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  15. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Republicans are again troting out their magic show. This is when they talk about the programs they are for and convince some middle class voters to back them. They even pull out a few women Republicans and gay Republicans, Latino and Black Republicans (all rich enough and selfish enough to forgo womens, gay and racial issues to add more money to their own pockets)

    The Repoublican Party will pretend to care about all people and be inclusivce during the convention and time leading up to the election. Then, win or lose, they will put all of those folks back in the boxes they store them in and go about the business of screwing the country to line their own pockets. OH frabjouous day, kalhoo, kalhay.

    August 22, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  16. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    He never lost and doesn't think that he will. He a great level of arrogance and lack of understanding. He will likely lose because of that.

    August 22, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Jim Hahn

    The Republicans have already lost the Hispanic vote, now they are really losing the women's vote. Makes you wonder who they are going to skewer next as they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

    August 22, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  18. Jim Hahn

    Karl Rove's dream of a consistent and continuing Republican domination of the Federal government apparently didn't figure in the two things that will prevent it from happening. Women voters and intelligence. Women voters are getting the message in spite of the fact that the Republican establishment is slashing education right and left to ensure that the steady decline in our nation's collective intelligence continues.

    August 22, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  19. 2buttercups

    Why should he drop out? As stupid and insensitive as his remarks were, he has freedom of speech. Just like the rest of us.

    August 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. alien

    Sounds like the intelligent people have it figured out. While the people with blinders are still living in the stoneage. Wanting women to submit to GOP

    August 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. Jack

    What the Akin affair does is expose the real Republican agenda. Social engineering. They want to implement their socially regressive policies e.g. go back to the days of back alley abortions. Or allow only the wealthy to have access to abortions (they would fly to Europe to have them.) They want women bare-foot & pregnant. We'd have only certain mandatory Christian prayers in public schools. There would be no Medicare, Medicaid nor Social Security. They'd bring back the Poor Houses.

    August 22, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. Please send money to Akin

    We must win this seat for the unborn . . .

    August 22, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. Vic of New York

    Republicans and Pundits keep saying the discussion on social issues is turning away attention from the economy – as if it isn't relevant to the election. Nothing could be further from the truth!

    The social policies Republicans are trying to legislate will affect Americans long after the economy has come and gone a dozen times. These enduring policies being shopped around in secret will impact our children and children's children – whether is it health care, retirement, taxes, or women's reproductive rights.

    Truth be told, by comparison to the social engineering Conservatives are trying to secretly slide under the nose of the American citizenry, and its potential impact to generations to come – the economy IS the distraction

    August 22, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  24. ghostriter

    Mr. Unemployment, not sure we are looking at the same things:
    You mean the two wars that Democrats supported and voted for?
    And the Medicare plan that Democrats voted FOR??
    And the stimulus that the DEMOCRATS VOTED FOR because they controlled both the House and Senate???
    And the economic disaster the Democrats Houses for People Who Can't Afford Them Program caused????

    Some of us remember Bush. We remember him changing the reason for going into Iraq 3 times. We remember being told we'd be there for a a short time. We remember being told WMD's were around. Basically, we remember being lied to at worst and following inept leadership at best.

    Democrats didn't vote lockstep with Bush. A few were against the war as well as Medicare Part D. Did any republicans? Not so much.

    Republicans are so fond of pointing out Obama's months long time of having congress at his back. Bush had the congress for 6 years. Yet since he just knew the housing market was bad back in 2003, he only managed to de-regulate things further. Oh yeah, he also managed to pass those tax breaks.

    The housing crisis happened on Bush's watch and with the republican led congress in charge. No amount of your talking points can change the facts.

    August 22, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  25. He will fight the Infanticide President

    Since McCaskill is a big fan of killing the unborn she is well loved by most of these posters. She probably doesn't go as far as approving to suck out baby's brains like the President.

    August 22, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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