Analysts: Akin 'Must Go' to Preserve GOP Senate Win

Monday, 20 Aug 2012 07:39 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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As a Tuesday deadline looms for embattled Rep. Todd Akin to decide whether he should pull out of the Missouri Senate race, political analysts say that the Republican's comments on rape could hurt the GOP's chances of taking the Senate and spill over into the campaign for the White House.

Democratic pollster Doug Schoen declared in an exclusive interview with Newsmax that “Akin must go now” or risk hurting the GOP’s chances to retake the Senate.

“What he said was reprehensible and abhorrent,” asserted Schoen. “For the good of the Republican Party, and indeed the country, he needs to withdraw before tomorrow's deadline.”

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Republicans — from GOP standard bearer Mitt Romney on down — are also in agreement that Akin should “do the right thing,” according to GOP strategist and Fox News contributor Bradley A. Blakeman, who noted the difference in the GOP’s handling of Akin as compared to the Democrat’s “flat-footedness” in admonishing Vice President Joe Biden for his racially charged comments.

“The vice president’s remarks were outrageous and the fact is that Republicans immediately did the right thing, but Democrats doubled down on Biden and made it look like the vice president didn’t say anything he should have been apologizing for — and that’s just wrong,” said Blakeman.

Akin apologized Monday for his televised comments that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancies if they are victims of "a legitimate rape," but he refused to heed calls to abandon his bid for the Senate.

Election rules in Missouri mean it is far more difficult for him to leave the race after Tuesday, which marks the 11-week mark before the election. He could go without penalty if he makes his announcement by 6 p.m. However, if he decides to quit at a later date he would have to go before a judge and pay for the reprinting of ballot papers.

Appearing on former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's radio show, Akin said rape is "never legitimate."

"It's an evil act. It's committed by violent predators," Akin said. "I used the wrong words the wrong way."

Democrats immediately jumped on the comments, with President Barack Obama slamming Akin's comments as offensive, adding "rape is rape."

Romney, too, said in an interview that Akin's comments were "insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong."

By midday Monday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee told Akin that it would not provide campaign funding for his election campaign. The move is the latest effort from the GOP designed to force Akin from the race.

Calls for Akin's exit from the race grew Monday, with at least two Republican senators — Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — saying he should resign the party's nomination. House Speaker Rep. John Boehner and Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus also called for him to go.

But Akin, who has served six terms in the House, pledged to continue the race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

"The good people of Missouri nominated me, and I'm not a quitter," he said. "And my belief is we're going to take this thing forward and by the grace of God, we're going to win this race."

The GOP needs to pick up four seats to take control of the Senate should Obama win re-election, but only three should Romney win since his GOP vice president would break the tie.

Of those seats up for grabs, Akin had been seen on the short list of the GOP’s best opportunities and he had been leading McCaskill in recent days, with an average 5-point spread. One poll had him 11 points ahead of McCaskill.

“We have to redouble our efforts in seeking other opportunities to shift the Senate,” acknowledged Blakeman. “Akin does not deserve to win. And we cannot support a GOP candidate who is undeserving. If it means losing a Senate seat, well then, that’s the way it has to be.”

Barring the emergence of another candidate or a write-in effort, Blakeman said that McCaskill will certainly benefit from Akin’s undoing.

“If he were to win he would be a pariah within the caucus. I mean they’re not going to reward this guy with any committeeships if we were to retain the majority and he would be pretty much ostracized,” Blakeman explained. “For the people of Missouri, how effective would this guy be as their senator in a Republican Party that shuns him?”

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Schoen agreed that the GOP cannot afford to keep Akin.

“If the GOP can move past this horrific statement, and recruit a quality mainstream candidate, then they will remain competitive,” added Schoen. “If Akin stays on the ballot, every Republican will — at the very least — face very difficult questions about someone who has no business running for, or serving in the U.S. Senate.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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