The entire Missouri political scene has collapsed into a spectator sport.
I don’t ever recall a period like this when there was only one thing over the course of a few days that anyone was talking about. It’s totally eclipsed everything else. It, of course, is the twisting-in-the-wind candidacy of Congressman Todd Akin.
Google “Todd Akin” news and you get 2,971 articles this morning. The opinions are all very negative: New York Daily News says Just Go Away (Read it here), Wall Street Journal says his ship has sunk (Read it here), New York Times says it indicative of the broader GOP (Read it here.) Post-Dispatch (Here), KCStar (Here).
Lightning Round With Top-Shelf GOPers
So I returned this morning to my “top-shelf” GOPers with question: does Akin stay or does he drop?
“50/50. I bet he stays.”
“My guts says he will stay.”
“Gets out - but I really have no idea.”
“He is trying to stay but he needs to determine if that is viable. If he has no money, he will lose to the McCaskill Machine. He needs to determine if the threats of the big money going away are real or not.”
“I am getting calls from conservative activist that I haven’t talked to in years wanting numbers to call to push akin out of the race. Akin can't win and his campaign is over. It remains to be seen in akin figures it out. The nomination is an honor not a right. It belongs to the party and Republican voters. He has lost his moral authority to represent the party.”
“He’s not ready to go yet. If polling continues this trajectory he likely will later.”
Why I Think He Doesn’t Drop
First, he says he’s staying. He said that on two radio shows. He said it on Twitter. He said it in a press release he sent out yesterday. How many ways can he say it until people believe it?
Second, he cut a commercial apologizing, asking for forgiveness. (See it here). Non-candidates don’t run TV commercials.
So Why I Think He Drops
Because everyone wants him gone. Everyone who puts themselves in his shoes, imagines themselves in his place, thinks that they’d drop. Crossroads pulls out its multi-million dollar buy; the Republican National Committee Chair says you’re uninvited to the convention. You’re front page above the fold in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and it’s not pretty. What? Akin doesn’t read those papers? Well even USAToday then!
How bad is it for Akin… even Jay Nixon is piling on. Writes on Dem legislator: “How bad is it for Aiken? Even Nixon got in on it! He let school lunches pass. Find another Republican candidate/idea/quote in the state he will criticize.”
Oh And Then There’s This
GOP monster donor David Humphreys emails the Joplin Globe a one-word statement on Akin: “moron.” Read it here.
Instant Polling’s Gonna Get You
Two spot polls conducted in the immediate wake of the uproar.
SurveyUSA (See it here.) played audio of the Akin comment to telephone respondents in the poll. Results: 13% agree with Akin’s comments on rape and pregnancy, 76% disagree. 32% accept that he mis-spoke, 55% don’t.
Finally, 35% think he should continue to run while 54% think he should drop out. In the crosstabs, Akin does still maintain the support of a majority (52%) of Republicans.
The second poll was done by Public Policy Polling. It has McCaskill’s approval at 41% (53% disapprove of her job performance); Akin’s favorability at 24% (58% unfavorable opinion of him). And the two essentially tied: Akin 44%, McCaskill 43%. (See it here.)
If he drops, who gets tapped?
It’s a spirited, but mostly behind the scenes scrum with probably two, maybe three, legitimate candidates before the state committee.
I would guess front-runners would be Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, Ann Wagner, and maybe Tom Schweich. Schweich is most likely to insert himself into it, but he would have the least pull on the state committee. Wagner and Emerson would have relationships to start working the vote.
The woman-on-woman match-up is favored obviously in the wake of Akin’s idiocy. Both Wagner and Emerson can show fundraising ability. Emerson has moderate streaks – and labor ties – that give her crossover appeal. Wagner has no voting record to dig against. Picking a good general election candidate is much easier when you don’t have to deal with primary voters.
Tea Party All Over the Map
Everybody’s got their favorite candidate and favorite conspiracy theory. Tea Party blogger Reboot Congress believes that Ann Wagner is behind it all Read it here and wants Sen. Brad Lager.
Bill Hennessy wants Ann Wagner, with Sen. Jim Lembke taking her place in 2-CD. Read it here.
Dana Loesch has been sticking with Akin.
Citizens for Diehl - $15,000 from Lewis & Clark Regional Leadership Fund.
Missouri’s Future - $25,000 from The Simon Law Firm P.C.
Jay Nixon for Missouri - $10,000 from Luxco.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Shane Schoeller (41), Dave Hageman, and lobbyist Jim Cooper.