JEFFERSON CITY – Two months after much of the national Republican establishment demanded Todd Akin abandon his campaign for U.S. Senate, the state party is making it clear that it is standing by its candidate.
Following Akin’s now infamous comments about “legitimate rape” back in August, Republican leaders – including five current or former Missouri senators and presidential nominee Mitt Romney – called on Akin to withdraw from the race. The National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Republican National Committee pledged that they would not support him with money or resources, despite the fact that most predict Republicans would be hard pressed to take back the U.S. Senate without Missouri’s seat.
For its part, however, the state party has consistently pledged that it would work to help Akin defeat incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.
And today, as the Missouri GOP’s slate of candidates kicked off a statewide bus tour, the party offered Akin its full-throated support, even though he wasn't personally participating in the tour.
“He’s been at every one of our Victory Centers in our state, holding rallies, giving out yard signs, talking to volunteers. He had a schedule to keep today, but he’ll continue to be in our prayers and on our ticket, and we think he'll be victorious on Nov. 6,” said Lloyd Smith, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party.
The party and Akin are also teaming up for a nearly $700,000 ad buy for the final few days of the campaign. The state party will fund $386,000 of the buy, and Akin's campaign will fund another $300,000.
Smith said a scheduling conflict kept Akin from committing to the tour, which includes the GOP candidates for governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. Akin was scheduled to hold a rally for volunteers in St. Louis today.
“We put this together in the last 96 hours,” Smith said. “We wanted to get everyone to be involved, but Todd is going to be at some of our Victory Centers even if he isn’t on our tour today.”