Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican who is running for the Senate in Missouri, is under fire for his statement that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” in the event of rape. Senators Scott Brown and Ron Johnson have already urged their fellow Republican to withdraw from the race. Senator John Cornyn is asking Akin to consider doing so.
But Akin’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, seems quite content to have Akin stay in the race. Though claiming to be outraged by his remark, McCaskill declined, during an interview on MSNBC to call for Akin’s withdrawal. Making her true preference clear, she added that for Akin to withdraw would be “radical” after a hotly contested three-way Republican primary which Akin won “by a comfortable margin.” Translation: please, please, please, don’t withdraw.
Akin actually received only 36 percent of the vote in the Republican Senate primary. But McCaskill has her politics, if not her facts, absolutely right. She was basically political toast — trailing Akin by 11 points in the most recent poll — until Akin made his comment. Now, suddenly, she has probably has a decent shot at retaining her seat.
Moreover, McCaskill and the Democrats are financially invested in Akin. They reportedly poured more than $1 million into the Republican Missouri Senate primary by way of advertising designed to boost Akin among Republicans.
You have to hand it to the Dems; they continue to demonstrate considerably more savvy in the Senate candidate selection process than the Republicans do.
According to Politico, under Missouri law, Akin cannot withdraw unless he does so by tomorrow. If he does withdraw, then McCaskill can be asked to explain why the Dems worked in favor of this nominee. If he doesn’t, Akin can spend the next ten weeks trying to explain away one of the most politcally stupid remarks in memory.