Yesterday, the deadline passed for Todd Akin to drop out of the race for a U.S. Senate seat in Missouri at 5 PM. This was much to the chagrin of Republican leaders, not just in Congress, but including the GOP’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, as well.
It’s abundantly clear that Akin’s own party has abandoned him, and in addition to the vocal opposition being expressed in the media to his choice to stay in and run, massive amounts of funds are being stripped from his campaign effort to the tune of $5 million. While the GOP has decidedly distanced itself from Akin, what hasn’t yet crystallized is what the party’s strategy will be in the long run. This is a very important seat for the GOP, and with vulnerable Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill still behind in the polls, they feel as if they are in striking distance to possibly regain a majority in the Senate.
With the deadline for filing passed, they can no longer run another candidate on the Republican ticket, but they could prop up a write-in candidate they believe has the chops to stand up to McCaskill. But how smart of a strategy is that? Would that hypothetical candidate just split the vote with Akin, leaving McCaskill victorious? What strategies are being thrown around by GOP consultants? Is Akin still (somehow) their best shot?
Jonathan Wilcox, Republican strategist and former speech writer for Governor Pete Wilson
Darry Sragow, attorney and long time Democratic political strategist