A Missouri Republican consultant tells me that his sense is that state Republicans think that Todd Akin “needs to do the right thing and step aside.” Akin, he adds, “is in Ohio, meeting with his media team,” and from what he’s heard, remains divided over what to do.
And while businessman John Brunner, who placed second in the Republican primary after Akin, has been making calls, it’s unlikely that he will get tapped to be the candidate if Akin does step down. “The talk this morning has been ‘Well, he lost after spending 8 and a half million dollars. Is he really a consenus candidate?’” remarks the consultant.
Instead, the top three names being floated are former senator Jim Talent, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner (who is running as the Republican in the district Akin currently represents), and Tom Schweich, the state auditor who also worked as John Bolton’s chief of staff in previous years.
Meanwhile, the pressure on Akin is rising. It’s significantly easier if he drops out before 5 p.m. tomorrow; if he drops out later than then, a court order will be involved.
The consultant also thinks that it’s not shocking that Akin made his remark: “People make bad comments, but Todd Akin’s been making these for 12 years, but no one’s paid attention because he’s been a wacky little congressmen.”
UPDATE: Talent told reporters, “No, I’m not running for the Senate,” today (via the Washington Post).
UPDATE II: Schweich sure isn’t issuing any denials. His statement:
The Missouri Republican Party is going through a difficult time due to the shocking and very offensive comments from our Party’s nominee for the United States Senate. While our Party sorts through this issue and works to find a path forward, we must keep one fact in mind: our ultimate objective in this election is to defeat Senator Claire McCaskill and her pro-Obama agenda and replace her with someone who will truly represent Missouri’s best interests. Senator McCaskill’s decision to support the Obama administration’s misguided policies has resulted in millions of unemployed Americans and trillions in debt, and it is imperative that we replace her this year, not six years from now.