Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s cash-poor U.S. Senate bid may get a financial boost from a political action committee that helped elect Tea-Party-backed senators in 2010.
The Senate Conservatives Fund sent an e-mail to supporters today urging them to vote in an online survey on whether the group, led by Senate Tea Party Caucus co-founder Jim DeMint of South Carolina, should support Akin’s effort to unseat first-term Democrat Claire McCaskill.
“The challenge for Akin now is fundraising,” Matt Hoskins, the group’s executive director, wrote in the e-mail. “Party leaders in Washington have made it clear that they won’t help him regardless of how close the race is.”
“This isn’t the first time the Republican establishment has attacked and abandoned a conservative nominee, and it probably won’t be the last,” Hoskins wrote. “But we’ve helped candidates win races without their support before, and we can do it again if we’re willing to fight.”
The group, which has endorsed Republican candidates in eight other Senate races this year, has stayed neutral in the Missouri contest, which was turned upside down last month when Akin said in a television interview that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy.
After that Aug. 19 interview, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit group that former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove helped create, said they wouldn’t spend money on the contest with Akin as the nominee. Party leaders, including presidential nominee Mitt Romney, pressured Akin to drop his Senate bid.
Akin, joined by religious leaders and other supporters today at an event in downtown St. Louis to mark the beginning of a statewide bus tour, has apologized for the comment and said he misspoke.
He has insisted he won’t leave the race. Today is the last day Akin could seek a court order to remove his name from the ballot.
Hoskins said in the e-mail that the Senate Conservatives Fund is considering providing support to Akin now that it is clear he will be the Republican nominee. Polls show the race is close.
“Make no mistake, winning won’t be easy,” Hoskins said. “Akin has been attacked on all sides and he’ll be attacked even more in the coming weeks. But this race could determine control of the Senate, and if Akin wins one thing is for sure -- he won’t owe the establishment a thing.”
Akin said yesterday during a campaign event in Kirkwood, a St. Louis suburb, that he anticipates national Republican groups will resume their support of his candidacy in the days before the election.
Akin is “seriously kidding himself” if he thinks the groups will reverse course, said Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. Opening national coffers to Akin would make other Republican candidates vulnerable to Democratic attempts to tie them to Akin’s remarks, Duffy said.
The Senate Conservatives Fund website said that in 2010 it backed now-freshman Senators Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. This year, the group has endorsed Republican candidates Ted Cruz in Texas, Jeff Flake in Arizona, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, Josh Mandel in Ohio, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, George Allen in Virginia, Tom Smith in Pennsylvania and Dan Bongino in Maryland.