In the face of a storm of repudiation, Rep. Todd Akin (R, Mo.) is refusing to step down in his senate race against incumbent Claire McCaskill (CBS). The state Republican party has until 6 pm CDT tonight to convince Akin to step down if they want to replace him on the ballot easily. After that, a court action will be necessary to do so. If Akin should wish to resign after September 25th, his name would stand no matter what he or anyone else wants according to state election law.
Akin's candidacy came into question after he shared his belief that pregnancy as a result of "legitimate rape" did not happen often because women's bodies have some sort of mechanism to shut down in the face of that trauma. Akin is on the House Science Committee.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has told Akin that they will not support his campaign. Crossroads, Karl Rove's super PAC, has also decided to remove itself from the race. The hope must have been that in the face of such withering scorn and withdrawal of financial support, he would quietly withdraw and that this negative attention would not span outwards to draw parallels to would-be vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Ryan and Akin were among many sponsors of H.R. 3, which, as originally drafted, sought to further restrict the Hyde Amendment by only allowing victims of "forcible rape" to obtain an abortion with Medicaid or otherwise federally subsidized health insurance.
At this point, McCaskill, his rival in the senate race, is supporting Akin's decision to stay in the race (ABC). Not so surprising when you consider that McCaskill was only a couple of points behind Akin before this whole mess. In that light, she cannot be blamed for thinking that a race against Akin at this point might be as close to a slam dunk as it is possible for her in the state, which is very much swinging against President Barack Obama.
Todd Akin clearly believes his campaign is still viable and that he offers a voice for those who are not normally represented in politics, but if he burns all his bridges here, and loses, what sort of future can he reasonably expect in the Republican party?
Then again, perhaps the GOP should be grateful for Akin's decision. It has surely drawn some of the attention away from the news that the GOP platform will include a call for a constitutional ban on abortion (The New York Times). At this time, there are no provisions for rape, incest or health issues.