If Rep. Todd Akin (R) does drop his Missouri Senate bid within the next 24 hours, as the GOP establishment is pressuring him to do, at least his timing will be impeccable.
Missouri state law allows a nominated candidate to withdraw his or her bid for office by 5 p.m. on the 11th Tuesday before the election which, as it turns out, is tomorrow. If Akin does drop his bid before tomorrow’s deadline, the state’s GOP central committee would pick his replacement.
This statutory fact alone is why Republicans — from National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) to presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) — are coalescing around a 24-hour ultimatum. Full story
Updated 6 p.m. | Missouri Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin apologized for his controversial remarks about “legitimate rape” today, as top Republicans ramped up calls for him to step aside as the GOP nominee.
In the clearest sign yet that pressure is being exerted on Akin to leave the race, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) issued a statement saying the Congressman has 24 hours to make a decision on what’s “best for him, his family, the Republican Party, and the values that he cares about” and to “carefully consider” his options. A GOP source also confirmed that the NRSC is prepared to pull its $5 million ad reservation if Akin does not drop out of the contest.
“Congressman Akin’s statements were wrong, offensive, and indefensible,” Cornyn said. Full story
Sen. Scott Brown (above) called on Rep. Todd Akin to relinquish his Senate nomination after his controversial remarks about rape. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
On day two of the media firestorm around Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-Mo.) comments about rape, the Republican Senate nominee is discovering that his harshest critics are not Democrats, but members of his own party.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) was restrained in her criticism of her opponent this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The incident has breathed new life into her campaign for re-election.
Instead, it is Republicans in tough fall races who are piling on:
The Democratic National Convention Committee today announced additional speakers for next month’s convention in Charlotte, N.C., where President Barack Obama will be renominated.
The speakers include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; California Attorney General Kamala Harris; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; former Democratic National Committee Chairman and Virginia Senate candidate Tim Kaine; Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick; Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Full story
Democrat Val Demings, running against freshman GOP Rep. Daniel Webster in Florida’s 10th district, began airing her first television ad today.
The former Orlando police chief introduces voters to her story and frames herself as beyond partisanship in the spot. It’s a compelling story and the right message for a Democrat in the Republican-leaning district, but her chances of coming to Congress remain something of a long shot.
“My mother wore a maid’s uniform so I could go to college and train to wear a police uniform,” Demings says.
Rep. Todd Akin's comments about abortion, even in instances of rape, set off a media firestorm today. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Todd Akin, the Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, justified his opposition to all abortion, even in instances of rape, by saying that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy — comments that have set off a media firestorm in an already contentious race.
In an interview with a St. Louis television station posted today, Akin said that female bodies “[have] ways to try to shut that whole thing down” and that only rapists, and not unborn children, should be punished.
The College Republican National Committee on Monday is set to launch “Operation Red November,” a $2 million voter turnout program focused on the presidential contest as well as gubernatorial and Congressional races.
The effort calls for dispatching 63 paid, full-time field staff to 25 states to boost support among younger voters for Republicans running in 111 targeted races. The plan, overseen by a national field director and four regional field directors, has set a goal of 6 million live voter contacts in 15 presidential battlegrounds, 16 Senate races, 73 House races and seven gubernatorial contests.
“The CRNC’s quarter million members provide the boots on the ground for the Republican Party. We will utilize our existing membership and our trained field staff to mobilize a youth effort that has never been seen before in our organization’s history,” CRNC Chairman Alex Schriver said in statement included on the press release outlining the group’s effort.
“We’ve specifically chosen battleground states where winning the youth vote will make or break this election,” he added.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will begin airing an ad today knocking North Carolina state Sen. David Rouzer, the Republican opponent of Rep. Mike McIntyre in the Tar Heel State’s 7th district.
It’s the DCCC’s second independent expenditure ad of the election season and follows their standard messaging playbook, implicitly hitting GOP candidates for support of Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, while explicitly hitting them for wanting to “essentially end Medicare.”
The anti-Rouzer ad begins with a clip from one his own ads in which he tells viewers “we need more North Carolina values in Washington.” The ad then relies on moving graphics and a young- and hip-sounding male narrator backed by synthesized music.
“David Rouzer’s budget would essentially end Medicare,” the narrator says. “That’s not a North Carolina value.”
“Seniors would pay $6,400 a year for their health care and David Rouzer would use that money to give millionaires another tax cut: that’s definitely not a North Carolina value,” the narrator says. “Seniors pay more so millionaires can pay less? David Rouzer sounds like he’s in Washington already.”
The ad is backed by a buy of $50,000 through Aug. 27.
McIntyre is one of the more vulnerable Democratic Members in the country, but recent Democratic polling found him leading Rouzer by 19 points. Democrats hope an early ad push will shore up McIntyre even more and make him a less enticing target for Republicans. McIntyre has been on the air with ads as well.
The GOP, not surprisingly, has a different view on the race. A recent Rouzer campaign survey had McIntyre up by only four points. Republicans are confident McIntyre can be knocked off this November and the National Republican Congressional Committee has already started airing ads against him.
Republican Senate nominee Tommy Thompson said Wednesday that he would not release his personal tax returns as part of his bid for office.
“When I was governor and I was employed [by] the people of the state of Wisconsin, I released my tax returns. But I’ve been in the business world and the question is, am I going to release my tax returns? The answer is no,” Thompson said in his first media availability since winning a closely contested four-way primary Tuesday.
When pressed again, Thompson pushed back: “No. The answer is N-O. What part don’t you understand?”
Democrat Brad Schneider is challenging Republican Rep. Robert Dold in Illinois' 10th district. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Updated 1:30 p.m. | Freshman Rep. Robert Dold (R) and businessman Brad Schneider (D) are in a dead heat in the race for an Illinois House seat, according to a new Democratic poll released today.
Dold and Schneider each received 46 percent in the survey conducted for the Service Employees International Union and House Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC.
The 10th district presents Democrats with one of their best pick-up opportunities this fall. Currently, Dold represents the most Democratic district held by a GOP House Member. What’s more, Democrats improved the 10th for their party in their redraw of the state’s Congressional map last year. Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.
Democrats argue the poll is further evidence Dold is in trouble going into November.
“Bob Dold is in serious trouble because he is seriously out of step with Illinois,” said Alixandria Lapp, executive director of House Majority PAC.
The League of Conservation Voters and Majority PAC, a Democratic-aligned independent expenditure committee, have teamed up for a $1.6 million ad campaign against Republican George Allen, who is seeking his former Senate seat in Virginia. Full story
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will air its first spot of the fall election season today, when it targets freshman Rep. Dan Benishek (R) with an independent expenditure.
House Democrats beat the National Republican Congressional Committee to the punch in the fall advertisement wars. The NRCC confirmed last week it would start airing advertisements for the fall campaign on Friday in four House districts.
Benishek faces his 2010 opponent, former state Rep. Gary McDowell (D), this November. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.
The committee will spend $73,000 to air this spot through Labor Day, according to a source familiar with the buy. This buy is in addition to the DCCC’s $515,000 reservation in television time in the 1st district through Election Day.
Rep. Cliff Stearns conceded defeat in Florida's 3rd district GOP primary. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
UPDATED 1:15 p.m. | Rep. Cliff Stearns, who was first elected to the House in 1988, conceded defeat to tea-party-affiliated veterinarian Ted Yoho today. Yoho upset the longtime Member in Florida’s 3rd district GOP primary Tuesday.
“Based upon the results from last night, it would appear that there are not enough provisional ballots to make up the difference for me to win this primary election,” Stearns said in a statement. “Therefore, I am conceding the election to Ted Yoho and I talked with him wishing him the best in his effort to represent the wonderful people of north central Florida. I have had an excellent and rewarding experience working in Congress for my fellow Floridians.”
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Yoho had 34 percent to Stearns’ 33 percent. Yoho had a more-than-800-vote advantage, according to the Associated Press, though the AP had not yet called the race because of pending overseas and provisional ballots.
“I stand proud of my 24-year record of conservative leadership and of defending our traditional values in Congress,” the Congressman said. “It has been an honor, privilege, and the high calling of my life to serve the many outstanding citizens of Florida in our nation’s capital. I will leave the House of Representatives with a joyful heart and the satisfaction that I did all I could to advance the conservative cause.”