Congressman Todd Akin’s Senatorial campaign got a big boost on Monday when former Speaker of The House and former Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich made an appearance at a fundraiser in St. Louis. Gingrich’s appearance came a day before Akin would need a court order to take his name off the November 6 ballot. Something he said he would not consider since making controversial remarks concerning “legitemate rape.”
So how does the lay of the land look for Congressman Akin these six or so weeks before the election?
Immediately following the comments that made Todd Akin a national figure, State and National Republican higher-ups said they would pull all funding for what was already a closely watched race nationally. All was declared lost. Some of the biggest names in the Republican Party begged Akin to “do the right thing”, and get out of the race.
As it became clear that Akin had no intention of abondoning his bid for the Senate, along with major Grassroots support, he regained endorsements from such groups as the Missouri Farm Bureau, and Missouri Right To Life. On the heels of Gingrich’s visit, South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s PAC vowed support and funding for Akin’s campaign. Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum is also expected to campaign on Akin’s behalf.
The big question remains, will State and National Party Leaders rethink their hasty exit, and decide to throw their support, and their dollars, behind Akin after all? With the polls showing a consistent McCaskill lead of 5-6 points, it is definitely a winable race. However, the heads of the GOP risk egg on their collective face. If Akin loses the race, a sizable number of Missourians will put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Republican Party for pulling their support. But as renewed support for Akin continues to grow, they will look foolish if they do not support the Party Candidate. Quite a spot to be in, but one they created themselves. Rob Jesmer of the NRSC stated that, “We will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.” Translated, that means that if the NRSC decides they are starting to look a little silly, they will consider throwing a few dollars Akin’s way.
This race will most certainly heat up in these last days before the election. It will be interesting to see if the Republican Party is willing to essentially hand over a winable race, and ultimately, possible control of the Senate, back over to the Democrats.
Not a gamble Missouri voters seem to be willing to take.