Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., is being encouraged to stay in the Senate race — by his opponent, who does not want him to drop out and allow Republican Party leadership to pick a new candidate.

“I really think that for the national party to try to come in here and dictate to the Republican primary voters that they’re going to invalidate their decision, that would be pretty radical,” Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said on MSNBC this morning.

That followed her statement supporting Akin last night. “I want Missourians to make a choice in this election based on policy, not backroom politics,” she said.

Of course, she also attacked Akin for saying that rape-induced pregnancy is rare because “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” Akin apologized today for his remarks. “Rape is never legitimate. It’s an evil act. It’s committed by violent predators,” he told Mike Huckabee. “I used the wrong words the wrong way.”

That hasn’t stopped some Senate Republicans from calling for him to resign the nomination, nor did his apology prevent Karl Rove’s super PAC from rescinding its support for his candidacy.

Now, McCaskill — a vulnerable incumbent who supported Obamacare wholeheartedly — seems to fear that she succeeded too well in weakening Akin. She hopes to beat him in November, not August.