When Todd Akin this week vowed to fight on for a Missouri Senate seat, despite the media fallout from Rapegate, he was making a deliberate gamble. He thinks Claire McCaskill is a very vulnerable opponent and the storm will blow over.
He may be right on the first point. Take a look at the Real Clear Politics polling on the race. Akin had what seemed to be a very clear lead before he started mainlining shoe leather.
In the ad that he cut explaining himself to Missouri voters, Akin apologized to them specifically for his big mouth and implicitly promised not to embarrass them again.
I will make no judgement on their judgment at this point, but here’s my guess as to how Akin goes forward. He stays in the race until after the Republican National Convention and then looks at those poll numbers to see if the storm has passed — indicated by him polling within one or two points of McCaskill, on average.
If not, then Akin withdraws and we have a whole new race on our hands.