UPDATE: It’s official — Akin is set to remain the GOP’s candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri. There was a 6:00 p.m. (EST) deadline for Akin to withdraw and give Republicans a chance to appoint a different candidate, but he allowed it to pass without action:
If he doesn’t meet the deadline, Missouri law says Akin would need a court order to be removed from the ballot and that he would have to pay for reprinting costs.
Much of it comes down to the 2009-2010 cycle, when Republican leaders — National Republican Senatorial Committee head John Cornyn and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell — took so much heat for backing establishment candidates over Tea Party insurgents like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul. The base of the party sent this unmistakable message to GOP leaders: Stay out of our primaries or get on board of the most conservative candidate.
Yes, both Rubio and Paul ended up winning (as did Republicans across the board in 2010), but others lost, including Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and Christine O’Donnell. So Republican leaders — the very folks who could have ensured that Missouri Republicans ended up with their most electable candidate (and no one ever thought it was Akin) — chickened out, and the chickens have come home to roost.
And here’s the ultimate question for Republicans: Can you always pick the most conservative candidate and still win races, especially in blue or purple states? Indeed, Republicans may not control the U.S. Senate in 2013 because they have been unable to put even a thumb on the scale for its preferred candidate.
We have long discussed in this space the long-term problems that the Tea Party will cause the Republican Party, and this is just another example of something felt earlier this summer by Sen. Richard Lugar. Or in 2010 by Colorado’s Jane Norton. And the list grows…