Politics

              Missouri Republican Senate candidate, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., speaks during a news conference at the start of a statewide bus tour, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in St. Louis. Akin is hoping that donors displeased by his much-criticized remarks about rape will reopen their checkbooks. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
              Missouri Republican Senate candidate, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., speaks during a news conference at the start of a statewide bus tour, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, in St. Louis. Akin is hoping that donors displeased by his much-criticized remarks about rape will reopen their checkbooks. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)   

Todd Akin’s campaign accuses Crossroads, NRSC of wanting Claire McCaskill to win Senate race

Alex Pappas and Alexis Levinson
Contributor

Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s campaign is accusing influential GOP-affiliated organizations that refuse to spend money to help the Republican senate candidate of genuinely wanting Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill to win the hotly contested senate contest in Missouri.

Rick Tyler, a senior adviser to Akin, told The Daily Caller this week that Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn’s National Republican Senatorial Committee are trying to undermine Akin.

“I believed at one time they did want Akin to win, even though they didn’t want to admit it,” Tyler told TheDC. “I’m convinced now they don’t want Akin to win.”

In August, Akin told a news station that “the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down” if a “legitimate rape” occurs, prompting outrage and condemnation from both sides of the political aisle.

The race might even determine which party will control the U.S. Senate next year. But both Crossroads GPS and the NRSC, which are spending millions to help Republican Senate candidates across the country, vowed not to support Akin in any way after they determined his rape comment threatened to hurt other Republican candidates across the country, according to Tyler.

“It is incomprehensible to me how Rove and Crossroads GPS and the NRSC could possibly stay out of this race” unless they want Akin to lose in November, Tyler told TheDC in a phone interview.

Akin has stayed in the race despite facing pressure to resign from top-level Republicans, including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.

“They would rather lose this race and give it to McCaskill than have Todd Akin win,” Tyler said. “This has somehow gotten to be personal with them. So they’re willing to throw away the Senate majority. They’re willing to keep Obamacare right where it is.”

The NRSC and Crossroads would beg to differ.

NRSC communications director Brian Walsh declined to comment specifically on Tyler’s accusations, but said that the organization is supportive of all Republican Senate candidates.

“The NRSC has made clear that we support Congressman Akin and hope that he wins in November,” Walsh said.

An official with Crossroads suggested the organization is focusing on priority races, implying that Akin is not a competitive enough candidate to merit support.

“Crossroads is quite supportive of grassroots conservatives who are competitive in our polling, like George Allen and Richard Mourdock,” Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio told TheDC, referring to the Republican candidates in Virginia and Indiana.

Tyler speculated that an Akin win would undermine these groups’ importance by showing that Republicans can win with grassroots support alone, without the television ads funded by outside organizations.

“They can’t afford to have Todd Akin win,” Tyler said. “If Akin wins, their whole theory goes out the window, because it will be proven they can actually win campaigns by doing grassroots, by mobilizing Christian voters, by mobilizing conservatives to activate against the establishment.”

“Todd Akin disrupts their business model,” Tyler added. “To me, that’s the only thing in my mind that rationalizes their behavior — they would rather win television commissions than win the Senate.”

Collegio declined to respond directly to that assertion. But officials at Crossroads frequently point out that they have low overhead and employ a competitive media buy bidding process.

A handful of leading conservatives, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, have stood behind Akin, arguing that the party should not abandon the candidate.

And the Senate Conservatives Fund, Republican Sen. Jim DeMint’s PAC, described the withdrawal of Republican groups from Akin’s corner as an “attack … from the Republican establishment” in an email to supporters.

But a Republican official, speaking on background, pointed out that the NRSC does not have unlimited funds and has to be selective about where it commits its resources.