Ben Johnson


Pro-life candidate Todd Akin defies party, stays in Senate race

Ben Johnson

ST. LOUIS, September 25, 2012, ( – It’s final. Todd Akin will stay in the race for Missouri’s open U.S. Senate seat, campaigning hard on the final day he could have requested a court order to leave the race.

Many Republican leaders, including RNC chairman Reince Priebus, pressured Akin to step aside before today’s deadline expired. Instead, the pro-life congressman kicked off an intensive bus tour with Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly.

Akin’s non-announcement came one day after former House Speaker Newt Gingrich held a fundraiser for Akin’s cash-depleted campaign.

Gingrich asked his fellow Republicans, “If Todd and the people of Missouri prove it’s a close race, what’s the moral case for not backing the Republican nominee?”

Noting that Akin’s success “is a key to winning control of the Senate,” Gingrich said, “This will come down to a very simple question: Do you want to keep Harry Reid as the majority leader?”

“My expectation would be that in the crunch, in October, Governor Romney is going to be for the entire ticket, and he’s going to be for Todd Akin,” he added.

Akin may also receive financial assistance from the Senate Conservatives Fund, a SuperPAC founded by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a Tea Party favorite with a history of backing candidates not favored by the party establishment. “Todd’s a good conservative; he’s been a good representative for a long time,” DeMint said.

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An anonymous Republican told the National Journal the SuperPAC is “looking at the race carefully” and could contribute up to $250,000 “if it looks like he can win.”

If Akin is to succeed, he will need the strong support of pro-life Christians like Julie Thomas, who said she decided to back Akin after “he got thrown under the bus by his own party…That was the tipping point for me.”

Akin and Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill met in debate on Friday in Columbia, Missouri, where Akin pilloried her voting record as too liberal for the Show Me State.

“If you vote 98 percent of the time with Obama and tell us at the same time you’re a moderate voter, that takes a lot of guts,” Akin said.

The Real Clear Politics poll average shows McCaskill leading Akin by five points. However, McCaskill has never broken the 50 percent boundary.