Todd Akin declared Tuesday that he would not drop out of the U.S. Senate race in Missouri. Most East Coast journalists and politicos I’ve spoken with cannot fathom how Todd Akin could possibly remain a candidate. As a former Missouri politician who knows Akin, perhaps I can shed some light. Here are 11 reasons why he didn’t quit:
1. He’s 65 and it’s his last shot.
Often, party leaders will ease younger candidates out of races with promises of support for some future nomination. That won’t work with someone who gave up his House seat to run and who clearly doesn’t have a political future if he bows out.
2. His opponent, Claire McCaskill, hasn’t polled over 45 percent for 18 months.
This nomination is worth something when you have an incumbent who, when paired against just about anyone, has hovered in the low 40s since last spring. Most political scientists and operatives assume that most of the time, late-breaking undecided voters favor the challenger approximately 2-to-1, so any challenger appears to be in good shape.
3. He’s never been a deal-cutting legislator.
A leopard doesn’t change his spots. Akin has always been a true believer, and not a typical pragmatic pol, so it’s not in his character to cut a deal now.
4. His base is sticking.
Since he first got into politics, Akin has been a crusader for social conservative causes. Whether it was in support of home schooling or against abortion and gambling, Akin has not given an inch. And so the folks he stood up for are sticking with him, and for that matter, so is Mike Huckabee, whose support was critical in the primary.