CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Despite Todd Akin's apparent campaign implosion, the Democrats' top Senate-campaign strategist thinks the Missouri Senate race will be a close one.
"I think that his obituary was written prematurely," Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil told reporters at a briefing at the Charlotte Convention Center.
People "that know Missouri expect it to be a competitive race," Cecil said.
Republican leaders from Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and four previous Missouri senators have urged Akin to abandon the race after Akin was quoted as saying that women rarely get pregnant from "legitimate rape.
Nevertheless, Cecil thinks the state's makeup will keep Akin in the race, despite the wave of condemnation that washed over his Senate ambitions after his comments on rape and pregnancy.
"Missouri is still a culturally … conservative state," said Cecil, who worked in Missouri on Sen. Claire McCaskill's 2006 campaign. South of St. Louis and Kansas City, Cecil said, Missouri is "more like a Southern state" in its voting preferences.
"I expect that what Todd Akin said … has given us a slight opening in this race," Cecil said. "We are prepared for Todd Akin to stay in the race."