A day after the executive director of the NRSC issued a statement that appeared to open up the possibility of spending money to help the Republican Senate nominee in Missouri, Cornyn bluntly declared the race “unwinnable.”
Cornyn, who’s in charge of winning a GOP majority for the upper chamber, said the committee would not put any money in the race against Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who was considered the most vulnerable incumbent in the chamber just a few months ago.“We have no plans to do so,” Cornyn told The Courier-Journal of Kentucky. “I just think that this is not a winnable race. We have to make tough calculations based on limited resources and where to allocate it, where it will have the best likelihood of electing a Republican senator.”
Some conservative groups have rallied to Akin’s aide in the absence of party support.
The Senate Conservatives Fund, a political committee founded by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), announced Thursday its supporters had pledged $290,000 to Akin’s campaign.
The Freedom’s Defense Fund, another conservative group, said it would launch a $250,000 advertising campaign to boost him.
DeMint and former presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have endorsed Akin.
GOP leaders had called for Akin to exit the race after he made a controversial comment about “legitimate rape” in August, and the GOP campaign arm said it would spend no money on his behalf. Tuesday was the deadline for Akin to step down and, after it passed, the NRSC seemed to open the door to helping the lawmaker.
NRSC executive director Rob Jesmer said in a statement Wednesday: “There is no question that for Missourians who believe we need to stop the reckless Washington spending, rein-in the role of government in people’s lives, and finally focus on growing jobs in this country that Todd Akin is a far more preferable candidate than liberal Sen. Claire McCaskill. As with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead.”
But Akin stirred more controversy the following day when he said McCaskill had been more “ladylike” in her 2006 race.
“I think we have a very clear path to victory, and apparently Claire McCaskill thinks we do, too, because she was very aggressive at the debate, which was quite different than it was when she ran against Jim Talent,” Akin said at a campaign stop on Thursday, according to the Kansas City Star. “She had a confidence and was much more ladylike (in 2006), but in the debate on Friday she came out swinging, and I think that’s because she feels threatened.”
Liberal groups have begun spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to pummel Akin over past statements, including his claim that women’s bodies can shut off pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape,” as part of what they’ve termed a GOP-led “war on women.”
The Service Employees International Union and Women Vote!, the independent expenditure arm of Emily’s list, on Thursday launched a $1 million ad buy highlighting that comment and another comparing federally-subsidized student loans to cancer.