The deadline for Todd Akin to withdraw from the Missouri Senate race has passed, and Akin remains a candidate. No surprise there; it’s been clear for quite some time that Akin is committed to fighting for this seat.
And it looks like he has a chance to win it. That, at least, is the view presented pretty persuasively in two articles by Politico. The most recent Rasmussen poll had Akin 6 points behind, but that was two weeks ago. I don’t believe there have been any polls of this race since.
Akin’s advantage is that the fundamentals in Missouri strongly favor his candidacy. Missouri recently has become a pretty conservative state. Even the polling services that show big leads for Obama in states like Ohio, Virginia, and Florida haven’t produced polls showing Obama ahead in Missouri. The RCP average has Romney up by more than 7 points, with only Rasmussen showing the race closer than that.
Moreover, Akin’s opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, is closely intertwined with the unpopular president. She was one of his earliest backers, and has supported him in Washington on the big ticket items, most notably Obamacare.
That’s why Akin began the race with a healthy lead. The lead turned into a healthy deficit following Akin’s dumb comment about rape victims and child birth. But as the race proceeds, that statement recedes and the fundamentals begin to reassert themselves.
Akin’s other big problem is lack of funds. This week, for example, McCaskill is outspending him by 10-1, according to Politico. This is because the Republican establishment walked, no ran, away from Akin in the aftermath of his foolish remark. It has not returned, though the NRSC’s executive director this week called Akin the “far more preferable candidate” in the race, and signaled that the group may finally be ready to assist him.
With the Senate quite possibly in the balance, it’s past time for such help. The Republican establishment needs to get over Akin’s remark, which in no way warrants his excommunication.
In one of the Politico articles, a former Missouri State Senator speculates that the race may well be determined within a week or so:
If Akin can withstand McCaskill’s furious TV/radio ad onslaught and stay within 4-5 points while holding McCaskill under 47 or 48, national money returns and it’s probably a 1-2 point race either way. If he can’t stay close in the next week, good night, Todd. The cavalry doesn’t do charity cases.
But the cavalry should have arrived by now to help prevent this from becoming a charity case.