Todd Akin Should Quit Senate Race, Wisconsin GOP Insiders Say
Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin remains adamant he will stay in the election despite controversy surrounding comments he made about "legitimate rape," but nearly 80 percent of Patch's Wisconsin Republican insiders say he should quit.
While Wisconsin Republican insiders agree Senate candidate Todd Akin's controversial comments about rape and abortion will have little effect on the presidential race, one thing is clear: They want Akin to drop out now.
In Patch's latest "Red Wisconsin" Survey of influential Wisconsin Republicans, 78 percent said Akin should withdraw from the race. On the other hand, only 24 percent agreed or strongly agreed that his statements would hurt Republicans outside of Missouri; and only 22 agreed or strongly agreed that the controversy will have impact on the presidential race.
Still, more than half of those insiders said Akin's comments could hurt the GOP's chances of trying to win back control of the U.S. Senate. About 39 percent of those surveyed disagreed with that statement.
Patch on Monday sent questionnaires to 95 key Republican activists, elected officials, conservative bloggers and talk show hosts, and others who agreed to anonymously give their opinions in a series of surveys between now and November. Patch received completed surveys from 54 people — or 57 percent of those surveyed.
What Insiders Had to Say
One Patch survey respondent said this lack of support from the Republican party is reason enough for Akin to step down.
"Leave the race. The party is not behind him and his presence in the race severly jeopardizes the party's ability to win that seat," that insider said. "He owes it to the party and the nation to step aside. The Missouri seat is very important because it could become the 51st Republican held seat in the Senate."
"The whole party has very publicly denounced his statement and have overtly asked him to step aside," another insider said. "This will have absolutely no effect on Republicans unless he doesn't step aside and Republicans will lose what could have been very easy pickings."
Added another: "Akin should apologize and withdraw his candidacy immediately to allow another Republican candidate to be nominated. His comment will follow him throughout the rest of the campaign if he should continue, jeopardizing the potential Republican majority in November."
The results of this survey strongly match pushes from other GOP politicians for Akin to drop out of the race. Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson both told Patch on Tuesday that Akin should withrdaw.
The national Tea Party express has also urged Akin to leave the race, according to CNN.com, as well as Republican presidental candidate Mitt Romney, who called Akin's comments "inexcusable," according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Akin Vows to Stay In Race
Akin's controversial comments occured during an interview on the Jaco Report, when he said, "It seems to, me first of all, from what I understand from doctors ... that's really rare. If its a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let's assume that maybe that didn't work or something, you know — I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child."
Akin canceled an appearance on CNN's Piers Morgan show on Monday night, claiming he had to focus on an advertisement that was released Tuesday morning. The ad asks for viewers' forgiveness.
"Rape is an evil act. I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that I apologize," he said in the ad. "The fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy. The truth is rape has many victims. The mistake I mad was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold."
Akin has remained adamant that he plans to continue on in the race, saying that his supporters have asked him to continue the campaign, according to the WashingtonPost.com.
The remaining support for this candidate may very well be shown in a recent survey on Public Policy Polling survey, which found that while voters "strongly" disagree with what Akin said, Akin still holds the lead over the incumbent Democract Claire McCaskill by 1 percentage point, 44-43, according to Publicpolicypolling.com.
Akin has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to withdraw without a penalty, according to Politico.com.
— Patch Local Editor Carl Engelking contributed to this report.
About Red Wisconsin
Our surveys are not a scientific random sample of any larger population but rather an effort to listen to a swath of influential local Republican activists, party leaders and elected officials in Wisconsin. All of these individuals have agreed to participate in the surveys, although not all responded to this survey.
Patch will be conducting Red Wisconsin and Blue Wisconsin surveys throughout 2012 in hopes of determining the true sentiment of conservatives and liberals on the ground in the state. If you are an activist, party leader or elected official and would like to take part in a weekly surveys that lasts just a few minutes, please email Mark Maley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Participants in Patch's Red Wisconsin Survey are:
Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, former chief of staff for Assembly Republican Leader Jeff Fitzgerald; Bill Berdan, first vice chairman, Wauwatosa Republicans; Keith Best, public relations chairman for Waukesha County Republicans; Bob Bradley, party activist; Charles Brey, field director for state Assembly candidate Tracy Herron; Tracy Brodd, Republican campaign worker; Paul Bucher, former Waukesha County district attorney and candidate for Wisconsin attorney general; Roy Catron, Tea Party activist; Andrew Cegielski, former Milwaukee County Board candidate; Sara Conrad, party activist; Bill Cosh, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources; Michael Crowley, Waukesha County supervisor; Jake Curtis, former state Assembly candidate; Lou D'Abbraccio, board member, Racine County Republican Party; Brian Dey, Racine County Tea Party member; Fred Dooley, conservative blogger; Steven Duckhorn, former Republican candidate for Milwaukee County sheriff; Bill Folk, chairman of Racine County Republican Party;Elisabeth Friesen, Republican activist; Jesse Garza, chairman, St. Croix County Republican Party; Mark Green, senior director of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania and former congressman; Chris Haines, longtime campaign volunteer and former GOP campaign manager; Deb Hawley Jordahl, conservative strategist and consultant; John Hiller, co-chair of Scott Walker's transition team as governor; Sandra Hollander, member of Mitt Romney's “Juntos con Romney” leadership team; Ethan Hollenberger, former chairman of the College Republicans at Marquette University and staff member on several legislative campaigns; Mark Honadel, state reprsentative, 21st District; Marguerite Ingold, party activist; Valerie Johnson, former GOP fundraiser and staffer for various campaigns; Thomas J. Keeley, political consultant; Scott Kelly, communications director for former state Sen. Van Wanggaard; Cindy Kilkenny, conservative blogger; Rik Kluessendorf, attorney and former state Assembly candidate; Dan Knodl, state representative, 24th District; Tif Koehler, campaign volunteer and civic leader; Johnny Koremenos, regional field director for Tommy Thompson campaign; Gordon Lang, member of North Shore Republicans; Chris Larsen, trustee in Village of Sturtevant Trustee; Noelle Lorraine, field coordinator for Americans for Prosperity; John P. Macy, first vice chairman of Waukesha County Republican Party; Kathleen Madden, Waukesha County Clerk of Circuit Court; Ginny Marschman, party activist; Jessica McBride, conservative columnist; Bill McCoshen political consultant and; former cabinet secretary for Gov. Tommy Thompson; Joe Medina, party activist; Randy Melchert, field director for Mark Neumann's campaign; Gerald Mellone, Brookfield alderman; Ryan Morgan, conservative blogger; Dean Munday, conservative blogger; Mark Neumann, U.S. Senate candidate and former congressman; Kelly O'Brien, founder of Shorewood Citizens for Responsible Government; Eric Wm. Olsen, conservative activist; Nick Oliver, state Assembly candidate, 22nd District; Victoria Ostry, treasurer of the Wisconsin Federation of Republican Women.; Rick Owen, Brookfield alderman; Monnine Parnitzke, party activist; Steve Ponto, mayor of Brookfield; Don Pridemore, state representative, 99th District; Paris Procopis, grassroots activist; Jim Pugh, director of public relations and issue management for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce; Denise Rate, Tea Party member; Bob Reddin, Brookfield alderman and executive director, Jobs First Coalition; Pam Reeves, treasurer, Waukesha County Republicans; Joe Rice, former county supervisor and member of North Shore Republicans Executive Committee; Nate Ristow, candidate for 13th District State Assembly; Brandon Rosner, Wisconsin Republican consultant; Bill Savage, aide to state Rep. Don Pridemore and officer of Menomonee Falls Taxpayers Association; Jim Schaefer, Muskego-Norway School Board president; Josh Schimek, conservative blogger; JB Schmidt, conservative blogger; Christian Schneider, senior fellow at Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and former policy analyst for Wisconsin State Legislature; Ashley Schultz, state director of the Recall Action Fund; Nick Schweitzer, Libertarian pundit and blogger; Tim Schwister, former State Assembly candidate; Dan Sebring, vice chairman, Milwaukee County Republicans and candidate for 4th Congressional District; Cathy Stepp, Wisconsin Natural Resources secretary and former state senator; Jeff Stone, state representative, 82nd District; Jonathan Strasburg, attorney; Dave Swarthout, board member, 1st Congressional District Republicans; Charles Sykes, conservative talk show host for WTMJ Radio; Steve Taylor, Milwaukee County supervisor; Jenny Toftness, executive director of the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee; Greg Torres, Jefferson County supervisor; Jim Villa, former chief of staff to County Executive Scott Walker and Alberta Darling; current CEO of Commercial Association of REALTORS® Wisconsin; Robin Vos, state representative; 63rd District; Dan Vrakas, Waukesha County Executive; Yash Wadhwa, former State Assembly candidate; Jeff Wagner, conservative talk show host, WTMJ Radio; Tom Weatherston, candidate for 62nd Assembly District and Village of Caledonia trustee; Steve Welcenbach, head of the Menomonee Falls Taxpayers Association and Tea Party activist; Todd Welch, Wisconsin state coordinator at Campaign for Liberty; James Wigderson, conservative blogger and columnist for Waukesha Freeman; Eddie Willing, conservative columnist in Racine County and executive director of FoundersIntent.org; Chris Wright, Sturtevant village trustee and former candidate for State Assembly; Phil Ziegler, CEO of InPro Inc. and party activist.