Conservative strategists and activists did not rally to Rep. Todd Akin’s defense Sunday after the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri said that “legitimate rape” victims have a biological defense mechanism to prevent pregnancy.
Instead, a growing chorus is calling for him to withdraw from the race.
On Twitter Sunday, many Republicans reached the conclusion that Akin is no longer a viable Senate candidate. Until Sunday, Akin was the favorite to take incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s seat as Missouri grows increasingly conservative. But both sides of the aisle seem to think Akin’s rape comments could cost him the election.
Republican strategist Patrick Ruffini recommended that a new nominee be subbed in for Akin:
Ultimately Senate nominees are expendable and interchangeable. No political downside in a switcheroo.— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) August 19, 2012
By 80-1, GOP activists in my Twitter poll want Akin to step down as the nominee.— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) August 19, 2012
National Review’s Reihan Salam piled on:
Todd Akin ought to step the heck down.— Reihan Salam (@reihan) August 19, 2012
Akin’s apology, which did not disavow the substance of his remarks, didn’t seem to assuage Ruffini’s fears about Akin’s candidacy post-gaffe.
Weak statement from Akin. A response to something like this should be no more than 1-2 sentences to effect of “I f***ed up.”— Patrick Ruffini (@PatrickRuffini) August 19, 2012
Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant based on Florida, tweeted Akin appears unready for a Senate campaign:
I know I’m about to piss someone off, but Akin’s team isn’t up for this kind of fight.— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) August 19, 2012
Pema Levy is a News Writer at TPM covering the 2012 election. Before coming to TPM, Pema was an assistant editor at The American Prospect where she wrote about politics and the economy.