Will GOP Run Write-In Candidate Against Akin?

Well this is a very interesting development. Mary Matalin appeared on ABC’s This Week and said that the Republican party may actually run a write-in candidate against Akin in the Missouri Senate race against Claire McCaskill. Doing so would effectively mean conceding the election to McCaskill, of course, though Matalin appears to be delusional enough to think otherwise.


I can’t imagine she’s right. I predict that the GOP will reverse themselves and support Akin’s candidacy with all the money they initially pledged to do so, unless they become convinced by recent polls that Akin just can’t win, which would lead them to put that money to better use in other races.

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  • wscott

    I’m currently visiting relatives in mid-Missouri, and am amazed at how much hatred there is for McCaskill outside of St. Louis, Kansas City & Columbia. (Missouri’s three blue dots in a sea of rural red.) My family agrees that what Akin said was grade-A stupid, but they’re mostly furious at him for “handing the election” to McCaskill. And they still plan to vote for him as they consider him the lesser of two evils. Can I go home to Denver now?

  • jamessweet

    I can’t imagine what purpose a write-in candidate would serve for the GOP… If Akin was going to win like 60+% of the vote, and there was a scandal that made him unelectable, then a write-in together with an Akin concession might be able to pick up the GOP momentum. But he was winning more like 55% or so, I don’t think the Republicans have enough momentum there to make a write-in candidate work for them.

    Furthermore, they might still very well stand a chance at salvaging Akin’s campaign, though it may not be worth the political capital to do so. He’s not polling that badly now.

    The only reason I can think of is that this is a way for the GOP to say “Fuck Akin!” in the hopes of avoiding too much collateral damage…

  • Trebuchet

    The Republicans actually succeeded in electing a write-in Senator, Lisa Murkowski, in Alaska two years ago after a nutball won the primary. The big difference, of course, it that Murkowski was the incumbent.

  • Trebuchet

    …difference IS of course…

    Oh, for an edit function. Just give me five minutes to fix my typos!

  • Chiroptera

    Doing so would effectively mean conceding the election to McCaskill, of course, though Matalin appears to be delusional enough to think otherwise.

    That is why running a write-in candidate would make no sense.

    It would make sense if the Republicans were decent people who cared about women and wanted to show that Akins was in no way to be associated with the party.

    But the GOP is the party of scumbags or people who will pander to scumbags if it will help them win elections.

  • d cwilson

    A write-in candidate would be just throwing money away. There’s no way a new candidate could throw together the organization and momentum to win this late in the game. Murkowski won as a write-in and Lieberman won as an independent before that, because they both already had a campaign apparatus in place.

    Either Akin is unelectable or he’s not. If he is unelectable, then any money spent on the race, whether for him or a write-in candidate is a waste. If he could somehow turn things around, then a write-in candidate would undermine that effort. Either way, it’d be taking resources that could be spent elsewhere and wasting them on a candidate who won’t win. The only person it would help would be McCaskill.

    My prediction is we’ll see some “new” SuperPACs cropping up that will start funding pro-Akin activities. The money will come from Rove and other GOP operatives, but without any “fingerprints” tying it back to them.

  • MikeMa

    I heard early on in the Akin firestorm, before the dropout deadline passed, that Alan Keyes might be the GOP alternative. What a hoot. Akin’s ignorant insanity is rather tepid when compared to Keyes – a charismatic looney who loathes Obama and is estranged from his own daughter. What a perfect pair.

  • d cwilson


    Keyes was the sacrificial lamb the GOP offered up when their candidate for the Illinois Senate blew up in their faces (against an up and comer named Barack Obama), even though he was a resident of Maryland.

    Putting him in as the replacement for Akin would be another admission that they had lost the race before the election even happened.

  • Chris from Europe


    About what are they angry?

  • The only way I can figure that this makes sense is if MO is one of those states that requires an absolute majority, otherwise there’s a run-off between the top two vote getters. In that case, McCaskill could get less than 50% of the vote and have to face the write-in candidate if he or she got more votes than Akin. I don’t know if MO is one of those states though.

    Otherwise, this is simply a way of conceding the race in the most face-saving way possible. I don’t see anything wrong with it other than the pretense that it’s going to work.

  • By the way, I can only find two polls that were taken since Akin made his dumbshit statements, one of which shows McCaskill ahead by 9, the other by 10. That’s a huge lead. It may regress over time, but it wouldn’t be a bad move for Republicans to write this one off, given that backing Akin carries obvious risks.

  • Nentuaby

    Perhaps if they figure that throwing the race away is a worthwhile sacrifice toward some other strategic goal? E.G. preventing halo-effect damage to other candidates, positioning themselves better for the next round, etc.

  • abb3w

    @6, d cwilson:

    Either Akin is unelectable or he’s not. If he is unelectable, then any money spent on the race, whether for him or a write-in candidate is a waste.

    If he is unelectable, then any money (particularly any large PAC donations) spent on a write-in may be considered a shot across the bow of the Tea Party Movement and Religious Values Voters by the Old-School Republicans (theocons by the moneycons). It will be sending a message: if you go too visibly far out of touch with facts and deep into crazyland, the moneycons will viciously turn against the candidate to preserve the party as a useful tool for the corporate interests.

  • d cwilson

    abb3w @13:

    It’s still kind of hard to separate the “moneycons” from the tea partiers. As the tea party was largely a creation of the former. They funded that movement and whipped into a frenzy and just like when they were called the religious right, the tea partiers were useful idiots in the 2010 election.

    It’s not that the moneycons don’t mind that the tea partiers are outside of reality. After all, the fake reality that they live is largely the creation of people like Dick Armey and the Koch brothers. What bothers the moneycons is that now that the sheep have gotten into office, they actually expect to see their radical social agenda implemented. They weren’t supposed to actually wield power, just do as they were told.

  • jakc

    Remember back in 2010 when Missouri voters dumped Ike Skelton for having told Akin to “stick it up your ass” during a debate on the floor of the House? Maybe they should write in Skelton as a,way of apologizing.

  • celticlight

    I don’t think they will run a write-in candidate, but I don’t think they will reverse themselves either. I agree that they will just put the money into other races. The Democrats have been dealt an ace in the case of Akin. It could keep Harry Canbarely in charge of the Senate.

  • ellisl

    Best guess – after the Sept 25th deadline passes, McCaskill will go nuclear on Akin and the polls will confirm that his campaign is toast. Republicans will take a wait and see posture and let Akin get hammered until any reasonable hope is dead and gone. Then and only then will the Republicans announce a write in candidate. They have to hold off until it becomes clear to most Akin supporters that he cannot win. That way only a few die-hard Akin supporters will remain, and then there will be a reasonable chance for a write-in Republican candidate to win. A significant number of Akin supporters need to see and accept the reality that he’s getting pounded and no one is coming to his rescue. Once that happens, they may be more willing to consider and accept a “white knight” alternative, a credible write-in candidate that shares many of the beliefs that they stand for. Then Akin will be marginalized and only get a few percentage points – hopefully not enough by then to split the vote. It’s a timing thing… It seems like Republicans have gone very quiet since the initial clamor for Akin to step down didn’t get the desired result. Their silence probably means a plan is in the works. Missouri is too important to let the chips fall where they may. The Republicans probably want to make an example of him. Since he won’t listen to anyone besides his inner circle, Akin will just have to face reality – the consequences of his actions.