Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 30, 2014

Missouri: Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum Throw Support Behind Beleaguered Todd Akin

Missouri: Jim DeMint, Rick Santorum Throw Support Behind Beleaguered Todd Akin

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) has decided to wade into the Missouri Senate race in support of GOP Rep. Todd Akin.

DeMint is joining former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, a fellow social conservative who sought the Republican presidential nomination this year, in endorsing Akin’s controversial candidacy.

In a statement released through Santorum’s Patriot Voices PAC, DeMint and Santorum made a fundraising appeal for the beleaguered Republican Senate candidate.

“Todd Akin is a principled conservative who is committed to winning and fighting for freedom in the U.S. Senate. Todd will work to stop reckless spending, stop the out of control debt, repeal the government takeover of healthcare, support our military and defend life at every stage,” DeMint and Santorum said. “We support Todd Akin and hope freedom-loving Americans in Missouri and around the country will join us so we can save our country from fiscal collapse.”

Unseating Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) is one of the keys to securing a Republican majority in the Senate next year, a task that has become much more difficult with Akin as the nominee. Roll Call moved the rating of the Missouri race from Tossup to Leans Democratic on Tuesday after it became no longer possible for Akin to vacate the November ballot.

“Simply put, we cannot afford six more years of Senator McCaskill,” DeMint and Santorum said.

The endorsement from two leading conservatives comes hours after fellow Missouri GOP Sen. Roy Blunt threw his support behind Akin. DeMint’s endorsement in the race also comes just one day after the Senate Conservatives Fund circulated a survey trying to determine if that group should help bankroll the effort to elect Akin.

While very conservative on social issues, Akin had been an earmark supporter throughout his career in the House, but he recently shifted his position. That may be significant in part because DeMint has been a longtime skeptic of the earmarking process.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and political action committees aligned with the Republican establishment have steered clear of Missouri ever since Akin made much-criticized comments about “legitimate rape.”

While some polls have shown the race could still be within reach for the GOP, Republicans may be waiting to see what happens after McCaskill unleashes a barrage of advertising criticizing Akin. She had mostly kept her powder dry until Tuesday’s deadline passed for Akin’s name to be replaced on the ballot.

Correction: Sept. 27

An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified former Sen. Rick Santorum’s PAC. It is the Patriot Voices PAC.

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