Sources say that GOP candidate Rep. Todd Akin will leave the Council for National Policy conference confident about his decision to stay in the Missouri Senate race.
The conference hosts top conservatives annually, many of whom have encouraged Akin to continue in his bid against incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill. Not all have been supportive of the Congressman's bid, with several prominent attendees said to have privately encouraged him to step aside.
The fallout from Akin's remarks, for which he apologized, have engulfed both the Missouri GOP and conservative grassroots into a divided fury, with nearly as many groups and officials supporting Akin's departure as supporting his continuation. The only unifying conclusion is that it's a decision Akin must come to himself.
A fractured grassroots has battled each other in the #MOsen discussion on Twitter, with grassroots Akin supporters pointing fingers at grassroots opposition and capslocking "establishment" accusations; the opposition has branded Akin supporters as guilty of costing the country a Senate majority and Obamacare repeal. Some are out there just windmilling it, expelling anger and hitting anyone who happens to get too close.
Democrat operatives and known progressive activists are trolling the #MOsen stream, duping unsuspecting new supporters into tweeting false and purposefully divisive info as a way to exploit the divide and increase the gap. It's difficult to watch; emotions in my great state are hot right now. Regardless of the side they're on, the most important claim, to oust McCaskill, has been lost in the battle. A brilliant play by Democrats.
Other Republican candidates are also being hit, and several Missouri GOP factions are battling to find a Plan B. Names such as Jo Ann Emerson, Tom Schweich, Ann Wagner, Sarah Steelman, and John Brunner have been discussed as possibilities. Wagner, the GOP candidate (and because the district is so red, presumptive general winner), was suggested by party and grassroots alike as a possibility. She would switch to the Senate race and Akin back into the Congressional district he held for so long.
Some angry supporters suggested Wagner plotted to take over Akin's race, which seemed vastly unlikely. Wagner, who just buried her father, has spent the past week in the hospital with one of her children and separately for her father-in-law, who I'm told slipped into a coma a few days ago. She's already won her race with the general mostly a formality, as no one other than a Republican has made a strong showing in MO2 for years. The press buzz forced her to release a statement earlier today.
Emerson may be likely but may face a backlash from many who have criticized her record. Schweich previously considered a run for the seat.
Yesterday, Akin's biggest corporate backer, Emerson Electric, left his campaign. Other Missouri Republicans joined Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and others in asking him to exit the race.
The requests and speculation seem moot at this point; the Akin campaign says they're in for the long haul, perhaps with the belief that they will be able to weather the storm and voters will forget this scandal after the conventions. The campaign raised $100,000 online yesterday but will need to raise more than that every single day just to stay in the game with McCaskill. If Akin were to exit the race, the September 25 absolute deadline is too late for any replacement to enter and mount a successful run. It would be a political suicide mission at that point -- 30 or so days to raise millions and build state-wide name ID? Not possible, even in a perfect world.
Even if the clock runs out on MOsen, it may not even matter. If Missourians wants to win the Senate race, they'll have to do it themselves. Literally.