August 22nd, 2012
09:13 AM ET
2 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.

Money

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.

Support

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. Hillcrester

    Every day the media focuses in GOP policues and votes concerning social issues us anither bail in the Romney/Ryan coffin.

    Keep it up, Rep. Akins-Do you have anything to say about how evil it was to end DADT?

    August 22, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. MichaelChatt

    This was a stupid remark. I suspect it is based on some piece of information given to him by someone who either didn't know themselves or who Akin didn't understand. Lets face it, there are far to many things Congress has to deal with to be experts in it all. More critical are the tons of "exerts" who don't actually know what they are talking about themselves.

    As far Republicans and wealth, last I knew there was far far more money on the Democratic side of the isle. After all you have to be loaded to be as blind to reality as these guys are, on both sides.

    We also don't judge both sides out of the same glaces. Dems didn't care that Barney Frank had a prostitution ring running out of his house but Repubs get held to often unrealistic measures.

    August 22, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. The Other Dale

    Leave it to the GOP to associate "grinding" when discussing rape.

    August 22, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Facepalm28

    Akin's situation reminds me of a Homer in a particular Simpsons episode:

    "I can't take HIS money, I can't print MY OWN money, I have to WORK for money. Why don't I just lay down and die."

    August 22, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Proof that Ryan is the author of the same he continues to say Romney is at the top of their ticket

    August 22, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. cashmeremafia

    MichaelChatt – If someone told me something like that, I would want to verify that from another source or get a second opinion, it sounds so bizzare. How can anyone take it as fact right off the bat??

    August 22, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. coyoteliberty

    Like Akins is the only nutcase in a race for the US Senate in America. Let's not forget Democrat Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who, among other craziness, continues to insist she has Native American blood despite a total lack of genetic or geneological evidence to the contrary, essentially erasing her lead in that race.

    Or Cynthia Dill of Maine, the Democratic nominee who is so far to the left of Obama and routinely spouts such self important craziness that her party has abandoned her to all but officially back an ex-governor running as an independent and whom you've never heard of because she's so out there the local press doesn't even cover her statements if they can avoid it.

    August 22, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. M

    So let me get this straight. The Republicans adopt an extreme anti-abortion plank in their platform, yet they squeal like stuck pigs when Todd Akin gives voice to that position, albeit in a terribly offensive way? The only conclusion I can reach is that they want their base to understand that they hold this position, but they'd rather not have the rest of the country find out. Time to come clean, guys. Tell us what you really believe.

    August 22, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Margo

    seriously now, old white men (and I am an old white woman) deciding on women's rights and futures....you got to be kidding. not to mention crushing the middle class...for those of short memories "trickle down doesn't work" they keep the money in their pockets. this is beyond comprehension

    August 22, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. steven harnack

    I wonder how much money these same Republicans who are publicly denouncing him are going to pass him through the back door? And why wouldn't they? his only crime (to them) is making public an issue, another issue, that according to Romney,"should only be disscussed in quiet back rooms". If this issue is just a distraction then why is it a major plank in their platform and the object of over 1,000 bills put forward by GOP politicians in the last TWO years. It sure seems to be much more important to THEM than jobs or anything else.

    August 22, 2012 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. independent

    This is not just an Akin issue. His views are consistent with Paul Ryan's views on abortion, on 'personhood' for fetuses, and saving the child, not the mother, when the mother's life is at risk. This is a GOP party plank and a substantial number of Republicans want a Constitutional Amendment to enshire it.

    This is the Small Government, little government intrusion party, remember. They only want laisser faire government when it comes to regulating corporate excess. When it comes to private citizens, they will force you to do what they think is right.

    August 22, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  12. Annie, Atlanta

    Our very own version of the Taliban. It's a little unnerving, as a woman, watching what has evolved into acceptable from a bunch of men who make our laws. Very unnerving, actually. What I'd like to know is when we women are going to stand up and say enough. This is unacceptable. Personhood amendments giving fertilized eggs more rights than the person carrying them. Attacks on birth control. Attacks on a woman's right to choose, as if we're too stupid or weak to know what is best for us. This is an outrage. How are there still women in the Republican party. These guys are offensive.

    August 22, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Annie, Atlanta

    Oh, and best of all, the GOP VP pick introducing legislation to define rape. Are you freaking kidding me. And he's revved up the base? Who are these people and where did they come from. They make my skin crawl.

    August 22, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. joejeffrey

    Poor God. Every self-righteous, sanctimonious blowhard who gets the urge to tell other people how to live says God told him to.

    August 22, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  15. Joy

    The Republican party has ask Akin to get out of the race, including Romney and Ryan. They have strongly
    disagreed with his statement about women and rape. It is being falsely reported that Republicans share Akin's views. As a woman voter I will vote on real issues like our massive debt, the economy and jobs. Unfortunately this has become a huge distraction because of one stupid man's offensive statement. Abortion should not be an issue in any political race, I am pro choice as many Republican women are, and we do not appreciate everyone judging us because of the opinions of a few politicians. and negative views from the extreme liberal left. Intelligent and informed women should vote for our children and grandchildren's future and save them from having to repay a massive debt. The most important issue today is saving our country from becoming like Greece, and going off a financial cliff. The media is totally ignoring what most Americans care about, and that would be saving our country.

    August 22, 2012 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Squigman

    The republican convention should be as lively as a walk through a graveyard. Maybe it's a good thing the drool spewers, will be there to give their slant on all problems known to man. If medical care comes to the floor, cure all with prayer. If the economic troubles get placed on the floor, just cut the hell out of all social programs. Never mind that they themselves are probably on Social Security, and medical coverage of one sort or the other. If rape and abortion make their way to the floor, just ask the reigning expert, the wonderful prospective senator Mr Akin. He apparently has the answer to this 800 pound gorilla's rants and raves. The brain trust will more than likely cure all ill's and make the sun shine brighter. What a great day it will be for us all.

    August 22, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  17. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Run Akin run. President Obama leads the polls.

    August 22, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  18. riptin

    Any women that votes for these pigs deserves what she gets from them. A life without freedom to choose how to live your own life.

    August 22, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. CDR Ron

    I think Rep. Todd Akin needs to tell Republican leaders not to worry about Tropical Storm Isaac crashing the Republican Convention. If Isaac becomes a "Legitimate Hurricane, the Republican Body Politic has ways to try to shut that whole thing down" LOL

    August 22, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I take it, based on these personhood, mandatory uterus ultrasounds, and absolutely positively no abortions that Ann-antoinette Romney is well beyond her child-bearing years and the intrusive grasp of these greedy, mental eejits.

    August 22, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. tfparker

    Akin:

    Please, I beg you stay in the race.

    August 22, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Doug from Seattle

    @Joy

    You seem to be out of touch with the legislative agenda being pursued by your party pertaining to abortion. I suggest you do a little homework as to how many anti-abortion bills have been passed by the Congressional House of Representatives and republican controlled states in the past two years.

    August 22, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. GOP puts "$" in "chri$tian" since 60% of the GOP believes they should not care for those less fortunate!

    There you have it ladies, the GOP "purity pledge" in action.

    August 22, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Chutzpah

    They're upset that Atkins calls attention to the party's official platform... jeez, what hypocrisy!

    August 22, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Two years ago the tea potty forced Miller,Sharon Angle and Witch ODonnell upon the unhinged GOBP to lose the Senate for them.

    August 22, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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