Mo. station says Akin hasn't paid for ads

A Columbia, Mo.-area television station says it has pulled Rep. Todd Akin's (R-Mo.) ads off the air because it has only received half the payment for them, CBS reports, stoking speculation that he could be running out of campaign funds.

Meanwhile, his rival in the race, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), is launching a new ad selling herself as centrist.

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A St. Louis CBS affiliate confirmed that KOMU-TV in Columbia has canceled Akin's scheduled ads until it receives full payment. The station said others across the state have pulled also Akin's ads due to missed payments.

Akin's communications director, Ryan Hite, disputed the report on Twitter, calling it "factually wrong."

"No ads were pulled. All ad time has been paid for," Hite tweeted.

Akin, too, disputed the story via his own official Twitter account, though it's unclear whether the congressman tweets for himself.

"Unable to pay is misleading & wrong. We're shifting schedules & paying for the ad time we want," he tweeted at a number of reporters.

Akin's comments last month, that pregnancy in the case of "legitimate rape" is rare because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," sparked outrage from Republicans nationwide. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, among others, asked him to leave the Senate race, and outside groups and the National Republican Senatorial Committee threatened to pull funds.

But Akin persisted, launching a grassroots fundraising effort and receiving some support from social conservatives. He raised more than $200,000 in an fundraising push — an amount that would make but a slight dent in the Missouri media market.

Now, however, he could be feeling the pressure from a lack of establishment support.

And as stations pull Akin's ads, McCaskill is going up on the airwaves with a new ad touting her moderate bona fides. In "Fifty," she showcases her position in National Journal's ideology ranking, which puts her at 50 on a spectrum of most liberal to most conservative.

"How did I get there? Missouri-style independence," she says, speaking directly to the camera.

McCaskill still needs to make a case that she's a centrist to cement a win in right-leaning Missouri. She led in almost every poll taken after Akin's comments went viral, once by double-digits, with the most recent independent poll giving her a 9-percentage-point lead over Akin.

But prior to his comments, she was widely considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the nation, and Republicans believed Missouri would be an easy win on their road to retaking the Senate majority.

While that's certainly no longer true, widespread dissatisfaction with McCaskill in the state still persists, and she'll have to reach out to moderate voters to ensure she keeps her seat in November.

Watch the ad:


This story was updated at 12:11 p.m.