By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog
ST. LOUIS — Now that Todd Akin’s staying in the U.S. Senate race, some in the Republican Party are giving the Republican candidate a figurative slap on the back rather than a kick in the behind.
Rob Jesmer, director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, a political action committee focused on electing GOP members to the Senate, called Akin “a far more preferable candidate than liberal Sen. Claire McCaskill.”
Jesmer’s new stance is quite the opposite of where he stood last month at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. There, he said Akin was “not a suitable candidate for office right now … There’s not one poll that suggests he can win,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Despite his renewed support for Akin, Jesmer stopped short of pledging much-needed funding to Akin’s campaign.
NRSC certainly has financial firepower. This super PAC has raised $81 million for the 2012 election cycle and spent just $52 million of it, the latest Federal Election Commission reports show.
Akin got the collective cold shoulder from the Republican Party after his controversial comments about rape and pregnancy drew the ire of the nation. Many in the GOP, feeling that Akin could not defeat McCaskill after his misstep, asked him to withdraw from the race. This included not only top Republicans in Missouri, but presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, one of those vocal critics, pledged his support for Akin this week. So did David Cole, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party. He privately pushed Akin to leave the race, but now says he will help the current U.S. representative of District 2in his election bid.
“Just like all of our GOP candidates elected in the August primary, the Missouri Republican Party stands behind Congressman Todd Akin in his race for United State Senate,” Cole said in a statement.
Former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth, who served the Show Me State on Capitol Hill from 1976 to 1995, was one of Akin’s most vocal critics then and remains so now.
After attending a fundraising event for GOP Missouri attorney general candidate Ed Martin on Wednesday, Danforth told reporters he would not support Akin.
“The problem with Akin is he taints the party,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was also in the state Wednesday, touring Monsanto’s headquarters and holding a fundraising event for his 2014 campaign in St. Louis.
Democratswasted no time in criticizing the flip-floppers.
Washington U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who leads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Republican candidates will “have to answer for their party’s support of Akin.”
“Their decision to support Akin should leave zero doubt in anyone’s mind that the Republican Party and the candidates they support are downright dangerous for women,” Murray said in a statement.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich appeared at a fundraiser Monday for Akin. Akin also received the endorsement of former presidential candidate Rick Santorum and South Carolina U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, who has promised financial support for Akin through his super PAC Senate Conservatives Fund.
That promise has led the Missouri Democratic Party to file complaint with the FEC, after Akin’s campaign told the National Journal on Friday he agreed to a ban on earmarks supported by DeMint although he has long opposed such a move.
Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Mike Sanders called shenanigans on the seemingly tit-for-tat deal.
“As an elected member of Congress, Todd Akin should hold himself to a higher standard of conduct,” he said. “This latest episode of Todd Akin’s typical Washington behavior is just beyond the pale, and Missourians deserve better.”
Akin defended the use of earmarks during a GOP debate in Branson in January.
“There are some that want to get so radical using the flag-waving term earmark that they’re going to give away the first article of the Constitution to the executives and the bureaucrats,” he said. “For political favor, I’m not going to give up the U.S. Constitution.”