Tag Archives: claire mccaskill

2018 outlook: Trouble ahead for Senate Democrats?

A look at the Democratic senators facing re-election in 2018 from states where President-elect Donald Trump won or nearly won on Election Day:

States Trump won, with margin of victory according to early and unofficial returns:

Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin, Trump by 1 percentage point.

Sherrod Brown, Ohio, Trump by 9.

Bob Casey, Pennsylvania, Trump by 1.

Joe Donnelly, Indiana, Trump by 19.

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota, Trump by 36.

Joe Manchin, West Virginia, Trump by 42.

Claire McCaskill, Missouri, Trump by 19.

Bill Nelson, Florida, Trump by 1.

Jon Tester, Montana, Trump by 21.


States Democrat Hillary Clinton won narrowly:

Angus King, independent who aligns with Democrats, Maine, Clinton by 3.

Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota, Clinton by 2.

Tim Kaine, Virginia, Clinton by 5.

Right-wing Akin owes nearly $270K from failed Missouri Senate bid

Republican Congressman Todd Akin was outspent more than 3-to-1 and owes almost $270,000 after his unsuccessful challenge of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, according to federal finance reports available online.

Akin’s committee spent a little over $6 million on his Senate campaign, far shy of the $19.3 million spent by McCaskill.

Akin reported $268,830 of debt as of Nov. 26, compared with $238,010 for McCaskill. But Akin could face a greater challenge than McCaskill in paying his bills, because losing candidates often find it more difficult than winners to raise money after an election.

The post-election finance reports were due Dec. 6, but because they are filed as paper copies with the Senate, it often takes several days before they are scanned into computers and posted online by the Federal Election Commission. Other types of committee reports are filed electronically, which is why it was apparent last week that the National Republican Senatorial Committee had quietly channeled $760,000 to Missouri to aid Akin’s campaign despite publically disavowing him.

Akin’s fundraising took a hit after he remarked in an August TV interview that women’s bodies have biological ways of avoiding pregnancy in what he described as “legitimate rape.” Although he apologized, Akin refused calls of top national Republicans to quit the race so Missouri Republicans could pick a replacement candidate.

Although some deep-pocketed Republican groups boycotted Akin’s campaign, others eventually provided money. Akin’s finance report shows that the Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, helped raise nearly $400,000 for Akin’s campaign. The Kansas City-based Now or Never Political Action Committee independently spent about $1 million on ads for Akin.

In the closing days of his campaign, Akin received contributions from several political committee associated with Republican officials, including $5,000 from Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran’s Free State PAC, $2,500 from Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s MichelePAC, $2,500 from Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert’s GOH Conservative PAC and $2,500 from the Patriot Voices PAC of former presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

McCaskill’s finance report shows that she received nearly $109,000 from donors associated with Emily’s List, which backs Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights. She also received contributions from political committees associated with corporations, Democratic officials and other diverse interests, including $10,000 each from the Office of Commissioner of Major League Baseball PAC and the National Association of Broadcasters PAC.

Akin and McCaskill both have continued to make fundraising appeals to try to pay down their debt. Earlier this week, for example, Akin distributed an email criticizing the “so-called ‘leadership’ of cash-strapped Detroit” while asking for $5 donations.

The fundraising pleas appear to have had modest success. As of Nov. 26, Akin and McCaskill each reported about $32,000 in receipts since the election.

Halloween week ad: Todd Akin’s scary

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has launched a Halloween-week ad casting Republican challenger Todd Akin as “scary” because of his remarks about “legitimate rape.”

Akin, meanwhile, is gaining some outside help in his quest to oust Missouri’s senior senator.

McCaskill’s ad aired as Akin teamed up with Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe for a series of campaign events in the St. Louis area. Inhofe was attending an energy roundtable discussion and fundraiser, then touring an aerospace and defense firm with Akin. Akin also was to campaign in the Kansas City area with former House speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.

McCaskill has not been on the campaign trail because she is spending time with her critically ill mother. But that hasn’t stopped the first-term senator from launching new ads against Akin. Her latest begins with a woman proclaiming: “Todd Akin is scary.” The ad then features a video clip from mid-August in which Akin says women rarely get pregnant from rape. Akin is shown saying: “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Another woman in the ad says: “He has no idea how it even works and he wants to legislate about it?”

Akin has repeatedly apologized for his remark and said he was wrong, but the suburban St. Louis congressman has continued to campaign on his staunch opposition to abortion in all cases except when a woman’s life is endangered.

During the energy roundtable, Akin said McCaskill has resorted to “desperate” claims in campaign ads.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and other deep-pocketed GOP interest groups dropped their advertising plans for Akin after the rape remark, and top national Republicans such as presidential candidate Mitt Romney called on Akin to quit the race. Akin instead forged ahead with his campaign. He has received support from Republicans, such as Gingrich, but has not regained the backing of Romney or the GOP’s Senate campaign committee.

Inhofe is one who has stood by Akin.

“I maxed out (on contributions to Akin) in the very beginning and I stayed with him all the way through this thing,” Inhofe said.

Akin said he believes he is seeing support from women despite the rape comments.

On the Web…

The ad: 



Christian right leader to spend ‘six figures’ for Todd Akin campaign

Christian right leader and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer said on Oct. 1 that his group would begin “a six-figure expenditure” to elect Todd Akin to the U.S. Senate.

Akin is the Republican who infamously said that women rarely get pregnant by “legitimate rape” so that shouldn’t be part of the abortion debate.

Akin is running for the Senate in Missouri, where he wants to unseat Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Bauer, who constructed his career on the right with anti-gay campaigns, said, “Todd Akin is a Ronald Reagan conservative who believes in a strong national defense, strong families and pro-growth economic policies.”

He also called on the GOP establishment to get behind Akin in the race if it hopes to win a majority in the Senate on Election Day.

Although the party platform supports Akin’s policy positions and calls for a blanket ban on abortions, Republican leaders called on the candidate to drop out of the race because of his remark.

Bauer said, “Rep. Akin has an exceptional record that should not be nullified by one statement for which he has sincerely apologized. He is the epitome of Missouri’s common sense conservative values and represents real change from the failed Obama/McCaskill policies.”

Bauer’s group already has invested in campaigns against Barack Obama in key states, focusing on the president’s support for gay marriage.

McCaskill as she campaigns continues to say that she’s a centrist in the mainstream and Akin is an extremist on the fringe.



As poll numbers dip, Akin fights back with money from far-right grassroot donors

Although right-wing Tea Party Republicans are rallying around U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, his poll numbers are sliding among likely Missouri voters.

A poll released on Thursdayby Republican group Rasmussen Reports gave Claire McCaskill a 10-point lead over Akin. Before his controversial rape comments, other polls had shown him with an 11-point lead over the incumbent.

But he and his fervent right-wing followers are fighting back.

Akin, 65, has defied calls from GOP leaders, including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, to step aside after claiming that women’s bodies have natural defenses against pregnancy from “legitimate rape.” The furor resulting from that statement threw Romney’s campaign off message just days before the Republican convention. Major right-wing, third-party groups have pulled millions in campaign advertising for Akin.

But there’s a backlash in Akin’s suburban St. Louis congressional district, where supporters said the national party had no right to attempt to force out a duly elected candidate. They say that they’re outraged that “establishment” Republican Party leaders are trying to railroad their Tea Party candidate out of the race.

These backers say that Akin is the “real deal,” a far-right leader politician committed to their social causes, such as opposition to marriage equality and abortion.

Akin has seized has launched a campaign called “Help Todd Fight Back Against the Party Bosses.” This week alone, the fundraising drive claims to have netted $100,000 in small donations.

But the six-term congressman will need much more than that to replenish a campaign account already diminished by a hotly contested primary.

“It’s very difficult, when you have the limited base we have in Missouri, to send emails out asking for $3 at a time,” Pat Thomas, secretary of the Missouri Republican State Committee, told The Associated Press. “I don’t know how to build a war chest to do that.”

Akin now has to go forward without the firepower of well-funded political groups that had planned to pummel Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill with negative television ads.

If his money runs dry, Akin could confront a difficult choice: re-evaluate whether to remain in the race or adopt a bare-bones strategy relying on social media and right-wing activists to counter the millions of dollars of mass media advertising expected from McCaskill and her allies.

First, Akin has to repair his reputation with moderate Republicans.

Federal records show Akin has purchased enough airtime to run apology ads in Missouri’s biggest TV markets through at least Monday. Akin’s campaign said Thursday that it has spent more than $200,000 on the statewide apology commercials while ad trackers for his Democratic opposition described it as a $277,000 effort.

He’s also working to mend fences. On Thursday, Akin attended a meeting of the conservative Council for National Policy in Tampa, Fla., site of the Republican National Convention, which he has agreed not to attend. He tweeted that his Wednesday fundraising goal had been met.

“Thousands of people stepped up and helped us raise over $100,000! The message is clear … voters should pick candidates, not party bosses,” Akin said.

He then sent out a new fundraising email asking supporters to chip in $5 toward a goal of raising an additional $25,000. Earlier in the week, he pleaded for $3 donations.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also issued a fundraising plea for Akin on Thursday, accusing the “Republican establishment” of a “carefully orchestrated and systematic attack.” If the national GOP and the “money-rich” political action committees “won’t help Todd Akin get us to the majority, then we’ll do it without them,” Huckabee wrote.

After winning the primary, Akin gained quick backing from national Republican and conservative groups focused on ousting McCaskill. But that support evaporated after Akin was asked in an interview that aired Sunday on St. Louis television station KTVI whether his general opposition to abortion extended to women who have been raped.

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said in the interview. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Since his comments, Akin has received numerous threats against him, his family and his staff, said Akin’s congressional spokesman Steve Taylor. The U.S. Capitol Police confirmed Thursday that it has “an active, open investigation” into a threat against Akin.

Akin’s rape remarks controversial, but his positions are included in GOP platform

GOP Senate candidate Todd Akin of Missouri created a firestorm early this week by saying that women generally can’t conceive a child as a result of “legitimate rape,” because their reproductive system shuts down automatically due to the trauma. He said he learned this medical information from “doctors.”

In the fallout over his remarks, some mainstream Republican leaders have called on Akin to resign. Most political pundits agree that the GOP cannot regain the Senate in November unless they win the Missouri seat held by incumbent Claire McCaskill. Prior to Akin’s remarks, McCaskill had trailed Akin by about 10 points. But a Public Policy Polling survey on Monday showed Akin ahead by only 1 point.

Although they’re terrified that Akin’s remarks might have cost them that race, the GOP’s official stance on rape and abortion is fundamentally identical to Akin’s. The GOP’s 2012 platform calls for a federal ban on abortion, with no exception for rape and incest survivors – the very policy that Akin was defending when he made his offensive remarks to a St. Louis television host.

Akin joined with Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in sponsoring last year’s No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act of 2011. That bill stated that insurance should only cover abortion in cases of “forcible rape” – language that echoes Akin’s suggestion that some rape victims are responsible for the violence committed against them or that they enjoy the experience.

Ryan sponsored a federal law that sought to give a fertilized egg the same rights as a living person – the co-called fetal personhood law. That law also sought to outlaw abortion under any circumstances, even when a pregnant woman’s life is at stake.

Ryan plans to headline the “Values Voter Summit” next month, a far-right confab hosted by the American Family Association, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Association for spreading inflammatory lies about LGBT people. AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer has been one of Akin’s most vocal supporters in the wake of the recent controversy.

 “You talk about a forcible situation, you talk about somebody being a victim of forcible assault, that would be Todd Akin,” Fischer said.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, another designated hate group, also leapt to Akin’s defense. When Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., called on Akin to drop out of his Senate race, Perkins threatened: “(Brown) should be careful, because based on some of his statements there may be call for him to get out of his race. He has been off the reservation on a number of Republican issues.”

Perkins is so tight with GOP leadership that he was given the privilege of writing the Republican National Committee’s plank on marriage, which calls for a Constitutional amendment banning marriage equality throughout the nation.

S, while GOP spokespeople scramble to distance themselves from Akin’s remarks, they draw ever cozier with his supporters and continue to aggressively pursue his positions.

UPDATE: Obama calls Akin’s ‘legitimate rape’ comment offensive

UPDATED: Missouri Congressman Todd Akin, a conservative Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, sparked a furor and earned a rebuke from Mitt Romney’s campaign after saying that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancies in “a legitimate rape” and that conception is rare in such cases.

President Barack Obama, in a press conference on Aug. 20, called Akin’s comments offensive. The president said, “Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and doesn’t make sense to me. What I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians – the majority of whom are men – making decisions about women’s health.”

Akin, a six-term congressman running against incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill, was asked in an interview broadcast Sunday (Aug. 19) on St. Louis television station KTVI if he would support abortions for women who have been raped.

“It seems to me first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down,” Akin said of a rape victim’s chances of becoming pregnant.

Akin said in an emailed statement later that day that he “misspoke” during the interview, though the statement did not specify on which points or comments.

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin’s statement said.

Akin also said in the statement he believes “deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

Akin’s comments brought a swift rebuke from the campaign of presumptive GOP presidential candidate Romney.

“Gov. Romney and Congressman (Paul) Ryan disagree with Mr. Akin’s statement, and a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said.

McCaskill, who is seeking a second term, in an emailed statement Sunday called the comments “offensive.”

“It is beyond comprehension that someone can be so ignorant about the emotional and physical trauma brought on by rape,” McCaskill said. “The ideas that Todd Akin has expressed about the serious crime of rape and the impact on its victims are offensive.”

This month, Akin won the state’s Republican U.S. Senate primary by a comfortable margin. During the primary, Akin enhanced his standing with TV ads in which former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee praised him as “a courageous conservative” and “a Bible-based Christian” who “supports traditional marriage” and “defends the unborn.”

Akin, a former state lawmaker who first won election to the U.S. House in 2000, also has a long-established base among evangelical Christians and was endorsed in the primary by more than 100 pastors.

Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, called Akin’s remarks “flat-out astonishing.”

“That kind of rhetoric re-traumatizes sexual assault victims. … That kind of talk, I believe, is intended to shame women,” she told AP Radio. The left-leaning organization supports abortion rights and already opposed Akin’s candidacy before his comments.

Akin was interviewed on KTVI’s “The Jaco Report,” and also talked about numerous campaign issues, such as voter ID laws, the economy and Medicare. KTVI said the interview was conducted earlier in the week.