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What's keeping Todd Akin in Senate race? (+video)

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No less than control of the U.S. Senate could hang in the balance. Many political observers maintain that Republicans must oust Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in November to have a shot at retaking the chamber they last held in 2007.

But Akin ignored a 5 p.m. deadline Tuesday that marked the last time he could withdraw without involving the courts.

He can still step down before Sept. 25, state officials said, but he would then have to ask a court to order the state to remove his name from the ballot. His campaign, or presumably the state party, would still be liable for covering the cost of reprinting any ballots with his name on them.

Missouri law states that the court issues a removal order. Some Democrats said if Akin withdraws, they might challenge him in court to further confuse matters for the GOP, which would pick a replacement to run against McCaskill.

After Tuesday’s deadline passed, a McCaskill spokesman said that the choice between Akin and McCaskill “is stark, and Missouri voters will get to decide who will be on their side in the U.S. Senate.”

Democrats also branded the GOP plank on abortion that was adopted Tuesday in Tampa as the “Akin plank.” The plank, as it has since 2004, declares support for a constitutional amendment establishing that human life begins at conception.

A new SurveyUSA poll Tuesday determined that 54 percent of Missourians think Akin should drop out of the race.

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