CAMPAIGN OVERNIGHT: The ghost of Akin past

He’s back.

Former Missouri Rep. Todd Akin — the Republican perhaps best known for detonating his party’s chances at picking up an easy Senate seat in Missouri with importune comments on rape and pregnancy — is back on the national stage, with a book coming out next week. 

In 2012, he defied calls from Republican leaders, including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to drop out of his race and caused Republican candidates in races up and down the ballot headaches with his suggestion that, in cases of “legitimate rape,” “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

ADVERTISEMENT
And he’s as defiant as ever in his new book, excerpts of which were published Thursday. He says he regrets apologizing for the comments and still stands by what he believes is their scientific veracity, and argues he could’ve won his race if not for the pile-on from both parties.

But he faced a similarly swift and decisive pile-on after the book excerpts went public Thursday, from Republican strategists wary that the ghost of Akin past could haunt present Republican candidates in a midterm year where Democrats are chomping at the bit for opportunities to lob “war on women” attacks at the GOP — and especially after last week's Hobby Lobby decision on ObamaCare's contraception mandate.

If his conduct in 2012, and his statements in the new book, are any indication, however, Akin won’t let the establishment shut him down.

 

SENATE SHOWDOWN

NC-SEN (HAGAN): Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) raked in $3.6 million in second-quarter fundraising, the largest second-quarter haul ever reported in a North Carolina Senate campaign. But locked in a competitive race with North Carolina Speaker Thom Tillis (R), Hagan is burning cash quickly, ending the second quarter with $8.7 million cash on hand, less than $1 million more than the approximately $8 million in the bank she finished the first quarter with. 

TN-SEN (ALEXANDER): Sen. Lamar Alexander’s (R-Tenn.) primary challenger, Joe Carr, picked up the endorsement of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund on Thursday. Carr also released a statewide radio ad Thursday, hitting Alexander for his support of immigration reform and his refusal to debate.

HI-SEN (SCHATZ): Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) raised more than $820,000 in the second quarter, according to preliminary figures reported by Hawaii News Now, bringing the senator to more than $4.7 million raised for the cycle. Schatz’s primary challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), won’t release her second-quarter fundraising numbers until next week. 

KY-SEN (MCCONNELL): Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes hit Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Medicare in a new Web ad out Thursday. The spot features a compilation of news clips that suggest McConnell has voted repeatedly to raise costs for seniors, citing his support for a GOP budget plan that would “essentially end Medicare” and his suggestion to increase the Medicare eligibility age. 

GA-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) raised $1.6 million in second-quarter fundraising, but his primary challenger, David Perdue, was able to keep pace with him, with help from a personal contribution of $500,000. However, Kingston ended the second quarter with $1.16 million in the bank, while Perdue finished with just $783,000 cash on hand.

And a new poll out Thursday found Perdue closing in on Kingston’s perceived lead. The “SuperPoll” conducted by InsiderAdvantage and OpinionSavvy found Kingston leading Perdue by just 1 percent of the vote, Kingston holding 42 percent support and Perdue garnering 41 percent, with 17 percent undecided. 

Meanwhile, Virtual Murrell, an early Black Panther leader who was imprisoned in the mid-1990s for extortion, headlined a Tuesday night fundraiser for Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn, National Review reports. Nunn’s campaign said it wasn't aware of Murrell’s criminal history, but the fundraiser is likely to draw criticism from Republicans looking to defend the seat this fall.

IA-SEN (OPEN): Americans for Prosperity hit Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) with a new ad Thursday, accusing the congressman of looking out for “Washington special interests.” The negative spot closes with a video of Braley’s gaffe in which he says “You might have a farmer from Iowa who never went to law school ... serving as the next chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

MI-SEN (OPEN): Republican candidate Terri Lynn Land has paid less than 3 percent of her income in federal taxes over the past two years, a result of significant charitable deductions, according to the Detroit News. Though Land has a modest annual income, she is one of the wealthiest Senate candidates of the election cycle and has a $32.8 billion net worth.  

MN-SEN (FRANKEN): Sen. Al Franken’s (D-Minn.) campaign announced Thursday raising $3.3 million during the second quarter. The sum came from 88,704 donations, the majority of them $100 or less, and leaves the campaign with more than $5 million cash on hand.

KS-SEN (ROBERTS): Greg Orman, a businessman looking to run as an independent against Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), launched a statewide television ad buy on Thursday — even before he’s secured a spot on the ballot. He’s running three ads, according to The Associated Press, and the two his campaign released feature him criticizing Washington dysfunction. To be added to the ballot, Orman needs secure the signatures of at least 5,000 registered voters on nominating petitions by Aug. 4, the day before the primary.


BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE

The House Majority PAC is increasing its fall ad reservations by $7.3 million, upping its total investment to $20 million. The group added to investments in seven districts and picked up television time in four new districts, including the Washington, D.C., area. 

AL-6 (OPEN): A new poll out from an independent Montgomery firm finds Gary Palmer significantly leading Paul DeMarco heading into the July 15 GOP runoff for Alabama's 6th District. The Cygnal survey shows Palmer with a 30-point lead over DeMarco, taking 59.6 percent of the vote compared with DeMarco’s 29.3 percent support.

NY-18 (MALONEY): Former Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) contributed $500,000 to her campaign to unseat freshman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who posted $550,000 in second-quarter fundraising. Along with her personal contribution, Hayworth raised $256,000 in the second quarter, but she still lags Maloney in cash on hand by nearly $700,000. 

MI-1 (BENISHEK): Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) significantly increased his fundraising during the second quarter, bringing in $487,000 compared with the $145,000 he raised in the first quarter. Benishek reported having $942,000 cash on hand at the end of June. His Democratic challenger, Jerry Cannon, has not yet released second-quarter numbers.

CA-52 (PETERS): Republican challenger Carl DeMaio has reserved $1.2 million in television airtime this fall for his race against freshman Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Roll Call reports. DeMaio’s buy will begin Sept. 15 on both cable and broadcast in the district and will run until through the election.

CA-21 (VALADAO): Democratic candidate Amanda Renteria raised $408,000 in second-quarter fundraising, bringing her total raised to more than $1 million in her challenge to Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.).

CA-31 (OPEN): Pete Aguilar, the Democrat vying for retiring Rep. Gary Miller’s (R-Calif.) seat, raised just over $416,000 in the second quarter, leaving him with $325,728 cash on hand, his campaign announced Thursday.

IL-17 (BUSTOS): Rep. Cheri Bustos’s (D-Ill.) campaign announced that the freshman lawmaker raised $482,000 in the second quarter. The sum brings Bustos to $1.47 million total raised. 

GA-12 (BARROW): Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.) brought in $580,000 in the latest fundraising period, ending the second quarter with $1.9 million cash on hand. 

AZ-1 (KIRKPATRICK): Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.) reported her best fundraising quarter yet, revealing a $420,000 haul. Kirkpatrick has raised a total of $1.91 million this cycle and finishes the second quarter with $1.3 million cash on hand, her campaign announced Thursday. 


2016 WATCH

PORTMAN: Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who recently opened speculation on his presidential prospects when he left the door open to a 2016 run, set tongues wagging Thursday when he said “there’s a good shot” Hillary Clinton won’t be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016. “They are looking for someone new and fresh,” he said, and criticized her record as secretary of State.

BIDEN: Vice President Biden will travel to Detroit next week to speak at the opening day of Netroots Nation, a convention for progressive activists. The convention will feature a number of other prominent Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also considered a potential 2016 presidential contender.

CHRISTIE: The Republican Governors Association, led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, announced Thursday that it raised $26.6 million in second-quarter fundraising, a record second-quarter sum for the organization. The impressive number is an indication that the fallout from the George Washington Bridge scandal has not affected Christie’s fundraising abilities. 


QUOTE OF THE DAY

"By asking the public at large for forgiveness, I was validating the willful misinterpretation of what I had said."

—Failed Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin (R) on regretting his decision to publicly apologize for his comments on rape, pregnancy and abortion 

More in Ballot Box

Landrieu, Cassidy spar over past LSU medical payments

Read more »