Senate Republicans Getting Back Into Missouri Senate Race?

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been running ads against Claire McCaskill in Missouri:

Washington, D.C. — Despite vows to abandon Rep. Todd Akin, Senate Republicans inched back into the Missouri Senate race Tuesday, accusing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of voting for measures that helped her husband’s business.

“Sen. McCaskill should apologize to the people of Missouri who sent her to Washington to rein in the size of the federal government, not to max out the government credit card and then get richer off of it,” said Rob Jesmer, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“This is just the latest in a long line of broken promises to Missourians and hypocritical conduct in Washington by Claire McCaskill.”

(Responding to similar criticism from Akin’s campaign, McCaskill said Tuesday that she and her husband did not personally profit from the government money.)

Rick Tyler, a spokesperson for Akin, said the campaign “would welcome” the NRSC back to the Missouri Senate race—but, when asked if Akin’s campaign had communicated with the NRSC about such a strategy, Tyler replied via email, “No comment.”

Although the committee has apparently returned to attacking McCaskill, one Republican close to Akin’s campaign predicted that the committee’s attention would remain focused on other races.

“They aren’t going to be helpful,” the source told BuzzFeed.

Still, the NRSC statement signals a shift in strategy. Less than two weeks ago, Sen. John Cornyn, the committee’s chair, said he thought the Senate contest in Missouri was “not a winnable race” for Republicans, and the committee indicated it would not commit resources to boost Akin.

McCaskill currently has a narrow lead in the race according to the RCP poll average, far narrower than I would have thought at this point in the race. While I still suspect that she will end up pulling off a victory, it will be far closer than anyone thought. Akin could even still manage to pull of a win there, especially given Romney’s lead in the state.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    As I said in response to a different post a day or two ago,

    Since Friday OTB has had posts about another Arkansa pol who thinks slavery was good for blacks, the gop congressman who thinks the theory of evolution came from the pit of hell, and now this guy. Where do Republicans find these people? And why?

    I meant that last question seriously. Why do Republicans find it necessary to run these yahoos? Why do they cultivate a base that votes for these yahoos?

    (Because as a party they represent the interests of only the .01% and this is the only way they can get anyone to vote for them.)

  2. James Joyner says:

    @gVOR08:

    Why do Republicans find it necessary to run these yahoos?

    The question misapprehends our system, which is ground up. Parties don’t “run” candidates, candidates run to represent the party. And party primaries in down ballot races tend to be low information and low turnout.

    The degree to which Todd Akin was a Grade A moron was not known until well after his nomination. At that point, the party was powerless to do anything about it aside from begging him to drop out.

  3. @James Joyner:

    The degree to which Todd Akin was a Grade A moron was not known until well after his nomination.

    Bullshit. While not a national news story, Akin has a long history of similarly outrageous remarks. If the GOP didn’t know about it until the “legitimate rape” fiasco, it’s because they didn’t want to know.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    In addition to James’ comments, Akin basically won a three-way tie in the Republican Primaries, garnering 36% of the votes. In other words, most Republicans did not want Akin, they either supported the business Republican candidate (Brunner) or the Party establishment candidate (Steelman). My guess is that if there had been a run-off, Brunner would be the candidate.

  5. Jen says:

    The degree to which Todd Akin was a Grade A moron was not known until well after his nomination.

    I disagree with this. Todd Akin has been in politics a long time, and his views are well known among the Republican party people in Missouri. I was profoundly disappointed to see that Kit Bond and Jim Talent had both decided to endorse Akin not that long ago; they used to be men of principle. I hope Jack Danforth stays the course and doesn’t jump on this boat.

    This is one of those situations where they are gritting their teeth and supporting the party candidate, figuring that the end justifies the means. It’s really discouraging.

  6. legion says:

    I think it’s clear the voters in Missouri knew what kind of guy Akin was; it’s just that the rest of the country didn’t realize what sort of people Missouri voters are. At first, when his idiocy started to get noticed outside his backwater, the GOP was suitably appalled. But as others have noted, they’d rather put an incompetent, miseducated bumpkin with an R after his name in power than any worthwhile human being on the other side. Pathetic.

  7. Geek, Esq. says:

    Akin was known as an extremist idiot for some time, but it was only after he became a national embarrassment that they decided they didn’t want to be associated with his views.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @James Joyner: James, remember the scene in Kelly’s Heroes where the heroes are trying to get to the gold, but they’re blocked by a German tank. Don Rickles offers, ‘Maybe we can make a deal.’ Clint Eastwood replies, ‘What do you mean a deal?’ ‘A deal, deal. Maybe the guys a Republican.’ (He was.)

    Can’t help but believe that If the party had really wanted Akin out of there, as opposed to making a show of wanting him out, they could have sweetened the pot enough to get it done.

  9. swbarnes2 says:

    @gVOR08:

    Why do Republicans find it necessary to run these yahoos? Why do they cultivate a base that votes for these yahoos?

    You’ve got it backwards. The yahoos are there, about 27% of the country, obviously more prevalent in certain areas. Someone is going to court their votes; Democrats really can’t. Republicans field candidates whom yahoos will vote for. And then those candidates go one to make policy in line with their voters.

    It can’t be any other way. The yahoos are there, the Republican party will cease to win elections if they don’t get the yahoos.

  10. Barry says:

    @Jen: “I was profoundly disappointed to see that Kit Bond and Jim Talent had both decided to endorse Akin not that long ago; they used to be men of principle. I hope Jack Danforth stays the course and doesn’t jump on this boat.”

    The number of ‘men of principle’ who were only so when it wasn’t inconvenient is vastly greater than the number who will be so when it is inconvenient (let alone costly).