August 22nd, 2012
09:13 AM ET
10 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. Marie MD

    For those of you who think this is NOT important it IS Very important. Not just for women but for men who care about the future of women (wives and daughters and granddaughters) the rest don't count because the repugs only care about guns, their bible (whose teaching they certainly DO NOT follow) and how to lie hitler did. Tell a lie enough times that it becomes the truth for some and make sure faux news sweeps stories and I'm be ci les like his under the rug.
    Speaking of "I" has the boy toy said anything about his very good friend and fellow let's vote the same against the budget and women and the President akin?

    August 22, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |

    Romney the tax cheat and Ryan ,akins BACHMANN and cantors mothers all should have had abortions!!!!!!!!

    August 22, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Phil Thomas

    @Joy Obama didn't create this mess, he is simply trying to clean it up. It took decades to create the mess your talking about and the GOP pilled on to our Debt by creating two wars. The Surges, Tax cuts, to blame the President is crazy. The issues as they relate to to Akin's comments Matter to real woman. As a person with two sisters and a Mother and plenty of women i care about they deserve the right to decide if they can financially afford to have a child. If they can live with a child that is a by product of Rape. A woman's right to choose with what is right for her body is her choice and not some politician who is cotowing to a special interest. This might explain why so Many Real women disagree with you on this topic

    August 22, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. GOP = failure

    GOP platform: unwavering protection of the unborn (even when just a few cells), yet absolute disregard (abandonment) once they are born. That is, better be born into the 'right' community if you want to survive.
    Face-it – the GOP strategy is to hold up the 'right to life' issue so it will make them seem like they have a sensitive caring side.. and many of their reps unwittingly believe it makes them somehow righteous. When in fact, it's a veil that seeks to hide what the party's true objective >>> bolstering industry (and the rich sobs at the top), with absolute disregard to the collateral damage (i.e. the worker bees that get stepped on, sickened, cast out).
    Face-it – the GOP is the party of Ebineezer Scrooge and Ayn Rand. The Koch bros don't really care about fetuses.. it's just bait to lure more into their big tent of intolerant idealogues (biggots united).

    August 22, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. AgrippaMT

    Akin is a right wing kook who will end any chance of the Republicans taking control of the Senate. Let him stay in the race and lose. That will be a good service to America.

    August 22, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |

    They will be shown the door out soon

    August 22, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Dan J

    The GOP should find a very moderate, very likeable write-in candidate and push the heck out of them.

    August 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Saboth

    Dangit...looks like they'll have to ramp up their vote-blocking of legitimate voters. Since there have been 10 cases of voter-fraud in the past 12 years, Republicans feel states need to enact laws that restrict voting to people with legitimate, state-approved ID. This might be a drivers license. But not everyone has one of these, as many people rely on public transit. Basically the elderly, young and poor may not have easy access to state-approved ID. Estimates are around 2% of legitimate voters will be barred from voting due to these new Republican-mandated vote-blocking measures. With over 200 million voters, that means around 4 million legal citizens will not be able to vote. So to put it another way: since 10 people committed fraud over a 12 year span, 48 million votes will be lost (4mill x the same 12 year span)

    August 22, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Dennis1020

    A sad prediction–there are enough people in Missouri who will say "my Tea Party candidate, right or wrong" and continue to support Akin. When the Republican establishment sees that Akins doesn't crash in the polls they will come back with some nonsense that his comments 'were taken out of context" and will get back on his bandwagon with support and dollars. He may still defeat McCaskill, which would be a sad commentary on the Missouri electorate in particular and the American electorate in general.

    August 22, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    @Fair Is Fair
    "And hey... just think. If you pay $1... ONE DOLLAR.... in federal income tax, you pay more than over 80 MILLION taxpayers... COMBINED. Yep, gotta love that "fairness".

    You advocate for the Mitt Romneys of the world by taking pleasure in swiping at the poorest of poor - perhaps showing more of your own moral compass than your fairness rhetoric suggests.

    August 22, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. Caroline

    So the guy says something stupid, (and admittedly insensitive), so he should lose his job? Let us all lose our jobs for making an insensitive comment.

    August 22, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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