Is it Too Late to Replace Todd Akin in the MO Senate Race? (Update: McCaskill Wants Him to Stay In)
By now you've probably heard the epic terrible statement that Rep. Todd Akin made on "legitimate rape." If you haven't, read up on Bridget Johnson's report and Rick Moran's take. It's nigh impossible to rate the statement a"gaffe," just as it's nigh impossible to rate VP Biden's "chains" comment a "gaffe" or President Obama's "You didn't build that!" a "gaffe" or a statement taken out of context. The context of all three statements makes all of them worse. In all three cases, the figure who uttered them said exactly what he intended to say, only to have the statement turn into an exploding cigar. Akin's will probably cost him his nomination for the US Senate, as it should.
The question is, what happens next? Akin was a slight favorite to pick up the seat for the GOP prior to his comment, but will not live the comment down. He has apologized and says he is staying in the race. Two major ad backers have pulled out on him, leaving him disarmed in a race that the GOP was expecting to win just a few days ago.
It is not going to just go away. The MSM will not allow that to happen. Akin will face a harsher public prosecution for this than Jon Corzine will face for losing over a billion dollars at MF Global. Akin will start picking up protesters shouting at him every time he speaks in public, and the late night comics will kick him every night. Pundits will try to connect his comments to the larger pro-life and conservative movement. Akin will become the left's wedge to drive the gender gap wider to help Democrats and ultimately Obama in Missouri and nationally. That's among the reasons Mitt Romney has already denounced Akin's comments.
If Akin withdraws from the race, as a number of Republicans including MA Sen. Scott Brown have called on him to do, does that hand the seat back to the very vulnerable and very beatable Sen. Claire McCaskill? Will control of the US Senate and the ultimate fate of ObamaCare come down to what one idiot said in one race in one state?
I called up the Missouri Secretary of State's office to find out if and when a nominee may be replaced on an election ballot. Here is what the SoS communications office sent me in reply.
The deadlines for a withdrawal of candidacy is provided in 115.359, RSMo.
- The final day to withdraw WITHOUT a court order is tomorrow, August 21 by 5:00 p.m.
- The final day to withdraw WITH a court order is September 25 by 5:00 p.m.
- The state party committees may nominate a new candidate to fill the vacancy created by a withdrawal as provided in 115.363.3, RSMo.
- The name of a candidate selected by a party nominating committee for the general election to fill a vacancy created by death, withdrawal or disqualification shall be filed with the secretary of state no later than 5:00 p.m. on the 28th day after the vacancy occurs or no later than 5:00 p.m. on the fourth Friday prior to the election, whichever occurs sooner, as provided in 115.373, RSMo.
- Hypothetically, if a candidate were to withdraw tomorrow, the 28 days for the state party committee(s) would begin Wednesday, August 22. The deadline to have a candidate FILED would be by 5:00 p.m. on September 18 (since it occurs sooner than the fourth Friday before the election, which is October 12).
The clock is ticking.
Update: If losing all the ad money and getting pummeled by the entire GOP establishment isn't enough to convince Akin to drop out, maybe this will do it: Sen. McCaskill, his Democratic opponent, wants him to stay in.