Akin's staying in, as Senate race heats up
The Kansas City Star
As a key deadline passes Tuesday, Missouri’s slow-motion U.S. Senate race is going into hyper-drive.
Republican Todd Akin says he won’t pull out of the contest by taking his name off the ballot, the last opportunity for the GOP to place a new contender in the pivotal race.
That means Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill is sure of her opponent, and free to blister Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, harsh views on federally subsidized school lunches, and other issues in TV ads and speeches.
Ramping up the criticism Monday, her campaign released an online ad saying Akin had reversed his support for earmarks to make himself more palatable to some conservative donors. McCaskill had the right idea opposing earmarks from the start, and Akin’s about-face is clearly a capitulation to donors, a belatedly good move for suspect reasons.
Meanwhile, Akin and his supporters are increasing the pressure on Republican funders to reverse their position and contribute millions toward defeating McCaskill.
State and national GOP leaders had called on Akin to get out of the race after his reprehensible “legitimate rape” comments just 10 days after he won the Aug. 7 primary. On Sunday Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus reinforced that view by saying, “We’re not going to play in Missouri with Todd Akin….”
On Monday, however, former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich stumped for Akin in Missouri and predicted that large conservative super PACs would be funneling money to the candidate within a few weeks. “This is a winnable race,” Gingrich said.
While some polls suggest that’s debatable, McCaskill and other Democrats realize plenty is at stake as Republicans try to seize control of the Senate in the Nov. 6 elections.
After today this contest likely will continue to attract national attention, and deservedly so. The campaigns might not be pretty to watch. But they sure are important to the future.