Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Politico

Missouri delegates reject national GOP push against Todd Akin

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin says he plans to remain in his Senate race despite an uproar over remarks about rape and pregnancy.

Associated Press

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin says he plans to remain in his Senate race despite an uproar over remarks about rape and pregnancy.

TAMPA — Missouri GOP delegates are rejecting the heavy-handed push by Mitt Romney and national Republicans to boot Todd Akin from their state's Senate race, revealing a split that could imperil the party's effort to take back the chamber in the fall campaign.

In interviews with POLITICO, delegates argued that Akin could still win the race in the conservative state, pushing back against the notion that his remarks on rape were a death blow to his Senate candidacy. Several delegates here in Tampa seemed angry at the national party, saying the decision to withhold millions of dollars in campaign funding is the real impediment in their effort to oust Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in November.

"Absolutely," John Putnam of Carthage, Mo., said when asked if he was disappointed at Romney for demanding that Akin exit the race. "I think he needs to rescind that, retract that. I think (Republican National Committee chairman) Reince Priebus and (Sen.) Roy Blunt and all the people need to support the candidate that the folks from Missouri nominated and picked in the primary."

"I think the GOP party bosses that are trying to drum him out are creating a bigger split in the party than Todd Akin is," said Putnam, head of the Jasper County Republican Central Committee.

Putnam wasn't alone. At a breakfast meeting of Missouri delegates here in Tampa, a number were sporting "Akin for Senate" stickers and stood strongly behind the six-term congressman's decision to stay in the race. The support of the state-level Missouri Republicans for Akin undermines the unified front that the rest of the Republican Party —— from Romney down to conservative pundits — has tried to show in urging Akin to quit.

"I think, honestly, that's shameful. The party should not throw him under the bus simply because he made a misstatement," said Mitch Hubbard of Fulton, Mo.

Still, while Republican delegates expressed optimism that Akin could withstand the party pressure and ultimately win, a Mason-Dixon poll in the wake of the controversy showed the Republican trailing McCaskill by nine points and his image taking a beating in the eyes of Missouri voters. Republican leaders — backed by conservative personalities like Mark Levin and Ann Coulter — believe that Akin's candidacy will cost the GOP a seat and a chance at a Republican majority in the Senate.

"Unfortunately, with him on the ticket, not only is the Senate race lost, but I think the state ticket is in danger," former Missouri GOP Sen. Kit Bond told POLITICO, warning that President Barack Obama could even win a state previously believed to be out of his reach. "I'm hearing that Todd is going to be featured in the Democratic convention. That's a reason nationally to vote Democratic."

Bond said Akin has not taken his phone calls, noting that his voice mail is full. Akin has apologized several times after his comments that "legitimate rape" rarely leads to pregnancies because the female body can "shut" it down — comments he made in a local TV interview when discussing why he opposes abortion in the case of rape.

He has until Sept. 25 to obtain a court order to get out of the race and allow the state party to pick a replacement. But Akin insists he's staying in the race.

Still, Blunt was skeptical Monday.

"I'm not sure he's going to stay in; there's still time to think about this," Blunt told POLITICO. "We think the national issues are what matters here and that Todd needs to evaluate the impact he's having on the discussion of the issues facing the country today."

Asked if the seat were out of the GOP's reach if Akin remains a candidate, Blunt demurred.

"Ask me in October if he's still there," he said.

Missouri delegates reject national GOP push against Todd Akin 08/27/12 [Last modified: Monday, August 27, 2012 9:11pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. LaVar Ball appears at WWE event, son LaMelo uses slur

    Blogs

    LOS ANGELES  -- LaVar Ball has brought his Big Baller Brand from the basketball court to the wrestling ring. 
    The outspoken father of NBA Draft No. 2 pick Lonzo Ball showed up with the newly-minted Los Angeles Laker and another son, 15-year-old son LaMelo, for a live segment on Monday's "WWE …

    LaVar Ball took off his shirt during a WWE broadcast.
  2. Facing defections, Senate GOP leaders delay health care vote

    National

    WASHINGTON — In a bruising setback, Senate Republican leaders are delaying a vote on their prized health care bill until after the July 4 recess, forced to retreat by a GOP rebellion that left them lacking enough votes to even begin debating the legislation, two sources said Tuesday.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., center, talks with his chief of staff Sharon Soderstrom, right, and communications staff director Antonia Ferrier, left, as they walk to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 26, 2017. Senate Republicans unveil a revised health care bill in hopes of securing support from wavering GOP lawmakers, including one who calls the drive to whip his party's bill through the Senate this week "a little offensive." [Associated Press]
  3. U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and estranged wife Carole put Beach Drive condo on the market

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their Beach Drive condo on the market for $1.5 million.

    Former Florida Gov. and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist and his estranged wife, Carole, have put their condo in downtown St. Petersburg on the market for $1.5 million. [Courtesy of Rhonda Sanderford]
  4. Florida man sits in jail 90 days when drywall powder is mistaken for cocaine (w/video)

    Crime

    OVIEDO — A Florida man spent 90 days in jail after police officers who stopped him for driving without headlights said white powder found in his car was cocaine.

    Karlos Cashe spent 90 days in jail after Oviedo police officers who stopped him for driving without headlights said white powder found in his car was cocaine. But he walked out of jail last week after lab results determined the powder in the handyman's car was actually drywall. [Photo from video] 

  5. Cal Foote was picked 14th overall by the Lightning in the NHL Draft.