Todd Akin's Rehabilitation Project is Now Underway
For the past few weeks I've been keeping half an eye on Todd "legitimate rape" Akin's Senate race in Missouri. This is mostly for reasons of personal vanity: I want to see if my three-part Akin prediction pans out. Yesterday was the last day he could withdraw from the race, and he didn't, which means that prediction #1 is now safely in the bank. Prediction #2 is that once Akin is definitively the Republican candidate, Republicans will grudgingly start to offer him their support. So how's that going? Well, the head of the NSRC has now switched from insisting that Akin will never get a dime to saying that he will "continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead." Dave Weigel explains:
"Monitor this race closely" is Washington-speak for "maybe spend money on it." Basically, Republicans bluffed and threatened Akin with a total cut-off because they wanted to replace him with a similar but less unpopular candidate. Akin, who owed national Republicans absolutely nothing — even Sarah Palin endorsed somebody else! — called the bluff. Now that the national spotlight has swung away, Republicans are looking for the least embarrassing way to help out Akin again, because it's tough to lose Missouri and win the Senate. Today's double-team Akin endorsement from Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint was part of that. So was Newt Gingrich's campaign swing. The margin between Akin and Claire McCaskill is only as big as a $500,000 Super PAC check from Foster Friess or Sheldon Adelson.
Prediction #3, of course, is that Akin will eventually eke out a close victory.1 There's nothing new to report on that front, though, since there haven't been any recent polls in Missouri. But the RCP average has Akin behind by about five points, which isn't a lot for a guy fresh off a major gaffe and short of money. Let a little time go by, and give his campaign a cash infusion, and that's not an insurmountable deficit. Not in Missouri, anyway. We'll see.
1I assume this goes without saying, but this is a prediction, not a hope.