SCF May Back Akin; Akin Will Back SCF Earmark Ban
The Senate Conservatives Fund, the former political action committee of Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., turned Super PAC, may help embattled Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., raise money for his race against Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., after imposing one condition: Akin will support an earmark ban the group backs, according GOP aides involved in the conversations.
"He has agreed to their earmark ban," said Rick Tyler, a senior aide to the Akin campaign who long worked for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
That's a shift for a lawmaker who has defended the right of legislators to earmark appropriations on the grounds the Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse.
But even the prospect of support from the group, along with support from DeMint and figures like Gingrich, who is joining Akin at a fundraiser and news conference Monday, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a vocal Akin backer, could help validate Akin with other conservatives and regain access to a national conservative fundraising. He needs to step up fundraising to compete with the well-funded McCaskill. Tyler said other national groups are considering supporting Akin, but declined to name them.
Akin has struggled to raise money since his August 19 comment the that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy led the National Republican Senatorial Committee and other Republican groups to withdraw financial support.
A Republican close to the Senate Conservatives Fund said the group is "looking at the race carefully and could get involved if it looks like he can win."
The official estimated the organization could raise $250,000 in contributions for Akin. The official said that decision will come shortly after September 25 -- after which Akin can no longer petition to be removed from the ballot, as national GOP leaders have pressured him to do -- and will be based on public polling and possibly on independent polling by SCF. The official suggested a single digit margin in the race would show Akin is viable enough to support.
"Probably in a week, week and a half, we will look at how the ground has shifted," the official said. If Akin has a shot at winning "down the stretch" in the race, the organization may also consider independent expenditures in Missouri, he said.