Rep. Todd Akin’s Missouri Senate campaign was thrown into turmoil in August when he notoriously (and, of course, inaccurately) declared that victims of “legitimate rape” can’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” His race against embattled Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill–once seen as a prime pickup opportunity for the GOP–was suddenly all but conceded to the Democrats.
A slew of lawmakers in the Republican Party backed away from Akin, including RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Sen. John Cornyn, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), and fellow Republican candidates like Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Heather Wilson in New Mexico.
But have the tides started to turn? It certainly looks like it.
Akin and his supporters are pumping $1.75 million into statewide ads this week, on par with the $2 million McCaskill is spending.
According to The Washington Post, the Akin ads are appearing after months of him being outspent by McCaskill by a 9-to-1 margin.
Akin’s campaign is contributing $600,000; the Tea Party-backed Now or Never super PAC will shell out $800,000; and the Missouri Republican Party is throwing in $387,000. A super PAC linked with Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has also made a six-figure ad buy.
The NRSC, which originally vowed that it would not fund Akin’s campaign, will not verify nor deny whether or not it is a source of some of these funds to the state party.
After Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks, the once-vulnerable McCaskill soared in the polls. But polls now show Akin is catching up, big time. According to a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch survey, McCaskill is leading Akin 45% to 43%, within the polls 4-point margin of error.
Tune into Hardball tonight at 5 p.m. Well have Sen. McCaskill on to talk about the state of her race.