Our SOB

Better late than never, I suppose, per Politico‘s John Bresnahan and Manu Raju:

Rep. Todd Akin and the Missouri Republican Party are launching a nearly $700,000 TV ad blitz in the closing days of his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, but the source of the funds for the effort is unclear.

These are the first ads run by the Missouri GOP in conjunction with Akin’s campaign. Of the total, $386,000 will come from the Missouri GOP to pay for the ad run, with the remaining supplied by Akin’s committee.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee declined repeatedly to comment on whether it is the source of the funds being used by the Missouri GOP on Akin’s behalf. Previously, the committee has insisted it would stay out of the race.

However, only national committees — the NRSC or the Republican National Committee — or individual campaign committees that raise money in compliance with federal limits are permitted to shift funds to a state party for a coordinated ad buy.

A spokesman for the Missouri GOP said it does not comment on its advertising strategy. The RNC could not be reached for comment.

It’s a fascinating situation. Concerned that Akin would taint the entire GOP with his views on “legitimate rape” and endanger what had appeared to be overwhelmingly high odds of a Senate takeover, and also confident they could force him out of the race, Republican leaders, headed up by NRSC chairman John Cornyn, played chicken with the feisty Christian Right champion–and he called their bluff. Now Republicans are frantic to resurrect Senate candidates somewhere, anywhere, and ol’ Todd’s still on the ballot and within single digits of Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, whose seat GOP strategists had pocketed as a gimme earlier in the cycle.

It sounds from the Politico account like GOP poohbahs are dumping some quick cash in Missouri and hoping no one much notices their hypocrisy until after next Tuesday. Either way, Akin is probably laughing all the way to the bank, though probably not to the Senate.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.