Unbelievable, via the National Review’s Katrina Trinko:
A Missouri Republican consultant tells me that his sense is that state Republicans think that Todd Akin “needs to do the right thing and step aside.” Akin, he adds, “is in Ohio, meeting with his media team,” and from what he’s heard, remains divided over what to do.
And while businessman John Brunner, who placed second in the Republican primary after Akin, has been making calls, it’s unlikely that he will get tapped to be the candidate if Akin does step down. “The talk this morning has been ‘Well, he lost after spending 8 and a half million dollars. Is he really a consenus candidate?’” remarks the consultant.
Instead, the top three names being floated are former senator Jim Talent, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner (who is running as the Republican in the district Akin currently represents), and Tom Schweich, the state auditor who also worked as John Bolton’s chief of staff in previous years.
Akin does the right thing and drops out, it appears the Missouri Republican Party apparatus is bound and determined to lose the seat anyway. None of these establishment types being mentioned even bothered to run in the primary. If the Missouri GOP anoints a candidate who lacks an established, grassroots organization on the ground, McCaskill will be a shoo-in for re-election.
(h/t Charles Bogue)
Update: (h/t David) If Akin doesn’t withdraw, this is all academic. But if anyone’s interested in contacting the Missouri Republican Party, you can visit their website here.
Update II: (h/t Mary Beth) It appears Jim Talent isn’t interested in running. Given that Claire McCaskill defeated him in 2006, that’s mighty magnanimous of the former Senator, wouldn’t you say?
Update III: Akin should stay in says … Claire McCaskill. Of course she couches it in flowery rhetoric about process: it would be “radical” to “invalidate” the results of the primary or something:
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) warned top Republican officials on Monday that any efforts to push Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) out of the Senate race against her, following his galling remarks about “legitimate” rape victims not getting pregnant, would backfire.
“I think for Washington party insiders to come in and try to invalidate the votes of Missourians would be radical,” McCaskill said in a phone interview with The Huffington Post. “I think that would be a very radical thing to have happen, and I can’t imagine how the Republican primary voters would think about that in Missouri.”
“I think there would be a significant backlash,” she added. “I’m not sure that would have a good ending for the Republican Party.”
I’m touched that McCaskill’s so concerned about a backlash against Republicans, heh. I wonder where McCaskill stood in 2002 when the Democrats changed New Jersey election law to replace “The Torch” with “The Laut“. In October, no less. Did she consider that an invalidation of the will of New Jersey voters? I’m skeptical. The reality is that McCaskill knows that Akin has no chance to win if he stays in, and she simply doesn’t want to face a candidate who can beat her.
Update IV: Allahpundit at Hot Air on just how badly McCaskill wants Akin to remain her opponent:
If you’re depressed by all the Akin coverage today, let this thought comfort you: The Democrats worked very hard, and spent a lot of money, to make sure he was her opponent in November. They banked on him screwing up spectacularly, and now he has — so spectacularly and so soon, in fact, that this might blow up right in their faces by landing a steadier, sturdier Republican candidate on the ballot in his place.
According to WaPo, the combined $1.5 million that McCaskill’s campaign and Democratic groups spent in the last weeks before the primary “attacking” Akin as a true conservative was more money than his own team spent on ads over the course of the entire campaign. That’s how badly they wanted to face him, and their strategy worked so well that they might get Brunner or Steelman or maybe even a more established Missouri Republican instead.