Todd Akin is considering a primary challenge to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2016.
“I have not ruled anything out,” the former congressman and 2012 GOP Senate nominee told The Hill in a phone interview on Wednesday.
“I think there is a high level of dissatisfaction among conservatives, that they have to some degree been pushed out of the Republican Party,” he continued. “The sentiment is there. The Tea Party is skeptical and wants some fresh blood, not just the same establishment guys.”
Akin’s reemergence is sure to be an unwelcome development for national Republicans.
Now, the GOP pariah says if he did run, it’d be to try to move his party away from a singular focus on economic issues, which he says has come at the expense of social issues, like abortion.
And Blunt, he argues, will have problems with the state’s conservative base.
“I think [Blunt’s] support among conservatives is weak,” Akin said. “His biggest liability is a third party conservative getting into the race. If I were in Roy’s shoes, that’s what I’d be worried about.”
Blunt is serving his first term in the Senate after having spent more than a decade in the House. He’s viewed as a centrist and will be a formidable incumbent with more than $2.2 million in cash on hand already. He has said publicly he intends to run for reelection but has not yet officially announced.
With Akin in the race, stakes could become even higher for Republicans in defending the seat, worried about the damage to Blunt or even unlikely upset he could pull.
Democrats have landed their top recruit for the race, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who launched his Senate bid last week.
Akin wouldn’t say how seriously he’s considering a Senate bid. He said he’s also is considering other professional options, like political writing and speaking. He said he’s working on an invention, which he described as a “simple household device that might help people.”
He maintains that a potential challenge to Blunt isn’t personal, although he says that Blunt and the Republican establishment didn’t just abandon him in 2012, they “aggressively attacked” him.
Following Akin’s controversially remarks in 2012, Blunt publicly urged Akin to leave the race and only returned to offer him a tepid endorsement once the deadline to drop out passed.