Count Sarah Palin among the politely unimpressed with Todd Akin’s dedication to principle in his decision to stay in the race. “Bless his heart,” Palin told Greta van Susteren (whose own displeasure is couched in less-generous tones), “but you have to know when to hold them and when to fold them. Believe me, I’ve been there.” After saying that she knows what Akin might have been trying to do in defending life, Palin emphasizes that the Senate election in Missouri is bigger than one person. And if Akin won’t get out, Republicans have to find another way to beat Claire McCaskill — by running Palin’s original endorsee in the race as a third party [see update]:
In any other context, having Palin urge a third-party run for a Senate seat would have been the ultimate slap against the GOP establishment. Now, it might be their only option left, unless groups like the NRSC and American Crossroads are willing to eat crow and place some ads in Missouri backing Akin. It depends on the polling, but it’s hard to imagine someone with Akin’s current negatives remaining competitive for long. In October, McCaskill’s campaign is going to start running ads with the video of Akin attempting to claim that “legitimate” rape victims have super-uteri that can resist rapist sperm or something, and the race will end up looking something like Alan Keyes’ competitiveness against Barack Obama in 2004 — unless Missouri voters have another option.
So, has anyone looked up the rules on independent Senate bids in Missouri? I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s already a matter of considerable research on the Right.
Update: Allahpundit shot me a link to Jim Geraghty last night, who did do the research on third-party bids. The good news? Republicans can get another name on the ballot. The bad news? Missouri has a sore-loser law that disqualifies Steelman and John Brunner. They can put Jim Talent, John Ashcroft, and pretty much anyone else on the ballot they wish — except anyone who was on the primary ballot. Palin actually says in the interview that the GOP needs to run someone like Steelman as an independent, not Steelman herself, which commenters have pointed out to me.