Most national Republican groups have turned their back on Missouri Senate hopeful Todd Akin, but with the final deadline for the congressman to withdraw from the race about to pass, one conservative group is considering backing him.
Reuters reported that the Senate Conservatives Fund, the Jim DeMint-backed political action committee, polled supporters on whether or not the group ought to back Akin.
“I’m writing to get your opinion on whether the Senate Conservatives Fund should support Congressman Todd Akin now that he is officially the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri and is polling within single digits of his Democratic opponent,” begins the email, signed by Matt Hoskins, executive director of the fund, according to a copy obtained by The Daily Caller.
The email discusses the controversy ignited by Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments, describing it as “an unfortunate comment in a news interview.”
“Akin is 100% pro-life and made a mistake in how he explained and defended his position. He quickly apologized,” the email says, and goes on to explain that as a result, many outside groups withdrew their support for him, which also “discouraged donors.”
The Fund’s interest in the race coincides with Tuesday’s final deadline for Akin to drop out of the race. Akin held a press conference several hours before the 5 p.m. deadline to reiterate that he would still be in the race come 5:01 p.m. central time.
“The Senate Conservatives Fund has remained neutral, but circumstances have changed in two important ways that require us to take another look,” Hoskins says in the email.
1. Todd Akin is now officially the Republican candidate who will face liberal incumbent Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The deadline has passed for Congressman Akin to remove his name from the ballot so he’s the Republican candidate and the outcome of the race could decide control of the Senate.
2. The race in Missouri appears to still be winnable. The most recent Rasmussen poll shows Todd Akin trailing McCaskill by just 6 points. Congressman Akin may still be able to win this race even after all of the attacks from the liberal media and the Republican establishment.
“Knowing that Todd Akin will face Claire McCaskill in November and the race could decide control of the Senate, should the Senate Conservatives Fund endorse Akin and help him raise the support he needs to win?” is the question put to SCF members, with a link to an online poll.
The email goes on to describe Akin as “one of the strongest conservatives running for the U.S. Senate in the entire country,” and enumerates his views as very much in line with those professed by SCF.
“The challenge for Akin now is fundraising,” Hoskins writes. “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. But we’ve helped candidates win races without their support before, and we can do it again if we’re willing to fight.”
“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,” the email goes on to say. “We’ll have another true conservative in the Senate who is more interested in joining the fight than the club.”
The timing of SCF’s interest also coincides with Akin changing his position on earmarks, a major issue for SCF. During his primary, Akin defended the practice. But last week, he announced that he would support a ban.
The McCaskill campaign attacked Akin for the hypocrisy.
“It’s shocking that Todd Akin’s willing to sell his support for an earmark ban, especially after defending the practice in campaign ads just two months ago,” said McCaskill press secretary Erik Dorey. “Akin’s decision to sell his support for an earmark ban is the kind of Washington politics that Missourians hate. After 12 years in Congress, it seems that Todd Akin’s gone Washington and this is just further proof that he’ll do anything it takes to go back.”
If SCF gets into the race, they will prove Newt Gingrich right. The former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate predicted Monday at a rally where he endorsed Akin that many conservative groups would enter the race once the deadline for Akin to withdraw had passed.
The Akin campaign did not immediately respond to request for comment.