When the scandal surrounding "legitmate rape" exploded around Rep. Todd Akin in August, several leading Republican organizations -- including the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington -- said they would not make third-party contributions to Akin's effort in Missouri.
NRSC chairman Sen. John Cornyn recently repeated that promise, telling a reporter the race isn't "winnable."
But in a sign of a split at the NRSC, executive director Rob Jesmer issued a blistering statement Tuesday -- on NRSC letterhead -- attacking McCaskill, using the story about her husband's business interests as the peg.
“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,” Jesmer's statement said.
The release, which notes it is paid for by the NRSC, puts the NRSC officially back in the race on Akin's side.
It could be a ticklish matter. Some Republicans in other Senate races have faced criticism for alleged ties to Akin, and an NRSC play in Missouri could increase those attacks.
But conservatives have long argued the NRSC would come back to Missouri if the Senate hung in the balance. Indeed, the NRSC staff said earlier they would "re-evaluate" the race, Cornyn notwithstanding, just as Sens. Roy Blunt, Kit Bond, and Jim Talent have done.
So far it's just a news release, not TV advertising. But a key player in national Senate politics is moving back in to Missouri with less than a month to go.