UPDATE: Akin told the AP Thursday he would not run for the Senate.
Former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s announcement that he’s considering another Senate campaign in Missouri has probably rattled more than a few Republicans in the state, and across the country.
Not because Akin could defeat Sen. Roy Blunt in a GOP primary, or even come close. And not because they’re worried a tough primary would cost Blunt a lot of money, or force the senator into more conservative policy positions to appeal to Akin voters.
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But look closely at this Akin statement to The Hill:
“I think (Blunt’s) support among conservatives is weak,” Akin said. “His biggest liability is a third party (emphasis added) conservative getting into the race. If I were in Roy’s shoes, that’s what I’d be worried about.”
There are four recognized political parties in Missouri: Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, and Constitution. Each gets automatic ballot access following a primary.
It’s not likely Akin would seek the Libertarian Senate nomination. But he could easily and cheaply seek the Constitution party nomination — which would almost certainly land him on the general election ballot in Missouri in 2016, along with Blunt and Jason Kander.
Akin wouldn’t win the race. But could he take five percent or ten percent of the general election vote away from Blunt? Probably.
Could five or ten percent of the vote make a difference between Blunt and Kander in 2016? Yes.
Akin remains angry at Blunt because of the senator’s efforts in 2012 to force him (Akin) off the ballot against Sen. Claire McCaskill. If Akin pursues a third-party candidacy, and not a GOP primary, Blunt’s headaches will likely grow.