An aide for Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s campaign said on Friday that Akin was buying airtime for ads in major Missouri markets next week, following reports that television stations had canceled ads because the campaign had not fully paid for them.
Akin will get at least another week of spots faulting Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., although their frequency may be reduced. But the issue over the buy highlights the precarious financial state of the embattled Akin campaign.
Abandoned by national Republicans and many donors after his controversial comment on "legitimate" rape, Akin is relying mostly on small online donations from around the country. His campaign appears to be purchasing airtime incrementally as money comes in. That shoestring approach will be insufficient over the next few months as Akin combats McCaskill’s far better-funded operation, an Akin aide acknowledged.
“The stations have been paid, some buys have been revised, but we’re making an additional buy today. No ads have been pulled or canceled,” said Akin senior adviser Rick Tyler on Friday.
Tyler said the campaign has raised $400,000 “in online contributions alone” since Akin’s Aug. 19 remark. Tyler declined to say what Akin has spent on advertising and operating expenses during that period or how much cash Akin has on hand.
But Tyler said that while Akin is raising money at a steady pace online, “alone that won’t be enough.” The campaign is pursuing “alternative sources of funding,” Tyler said. He argued that “the national money will come back” as polls convince Republicans Akin can win the contest.
The campaign can also tap a “very substantial grassroots network that the Republican Party has completely abandoned,” Tyler said.
While Akin spent about $220,000 on his recent ad, McCaskill is spending $500,000 in a week on an ad touting her National Journal ranking as 50th on a scale of liberal-to-conservative based on Senate votes.
Akin’s campaign and many campaign observers believe that once the Sept. 25 final deadline for Akin to get off the Missouri ballot passes, McCaskill will spend heavily on negative advertising painting Akin as an extremist, with renewed attention to his rape comment. Without improved fundraising, Akin will lack the ability to respond.
“I believe we’ve turned the corner in the eyes of most Republicans,” Tyler said, arguing that the national GOP remains a problem for the campaign. “If Todd does lose, it won’t be Todd’s fault,” he said. “It will be their fault.”