On the morning after Rep. Todd Akin (R) upended the Missouri Senate race with his comment that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” have a biological process that prevents pregnancy, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) told Republicans they’re probably stuck with their now-toxic nominee.
“I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they’re going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical,” McCaskill told MSNBC Monday. “I think there could be a backlash for the Republicans if they did that.”
As soon as Akin’s comments hit the web Sunday, some conservative activists and GOP strategists started musing about bumping the freshly-minted Senate nominee from the November ballot. Early Reports are that Akin would have to leave the race by Tuesday to give the GOP a chance to find a replacement.
McCaskill noted that Akin won his Aug. 7 three-way primary by a comfortable margin. He had the help of national Tea Party activists as well as the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, lately best known for leading the conservative defense of Chick-fil-A. Akin’s victory was celebrated in some conservative circles as a big win.
McCaskill and Democratic groups spent money in the primary trying to bolster Akin’s campaign, hoping to steer GOP voters toward the candidate thought easiest for McCaskill to beat. Though their plan seemed to have worked, the PollTracker Average, before Sunday’s comments, still showed Akin beating McCaskill by an 8-point margin.
In her MSNBC appearance, McCaskill reiterated her shock and outrage at Akin’s comments and rejected Akin’s claim that he “misspoke.”
“This statement is a window in to Todd Akin’s mind,” McCaskill said. She noted that Akin did not retract the central claim from the Sunday interview about the biology of women who are “legitimately” raped.
“He may be acting like he’s backtracking but he didn’t say he was wrong,” she said.