The last-minute advertising campaign by the National Republican Senatorial Committee was meant to hep Akin defeat Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri MORE (D-Mo.), but it failed.
Akin's campaign stumbled when the candidate said women were unlikely to become pregnant from "legitimate rape" because their bodies have ways to "shut that whole thing down." The comments led the NRSC to disavow Akin and Washington Republicans pressured him — unsuccessfully — to leave the race.
But in the final days of the race, the NRSC tried to push Akin over the top, transferring $360,000 to the Missouri GOP on Nov. 1, and another $400,000 on Nov. 2, according to FEC documents released late Thursday night.
And the Missouri GOP spent nearly that much, $756,000 on an ad buy on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 for “W. Todd Akin," with the firm Akin used to do his media buying.
Rick Tyler, a top adviser to Akin, slammed the NRSC for its "incompetent leadership" and said that their actions early on, in disavowing Akin, irreparably damaged the candidate.
"The NRSC's actions
reflected its incompetent leadership," he said in an email to The Hill. "It's hard to say if Akin could
have won given how poorly the Republicans performed nationally. But
there can be no question that their actions and comments kept the
campaign from recovering after a misstep."
Tyler also asserted that by "choosing to be actively destructive,
the NRSC and Rove hurt every Republican on the ballot in Missouri." He added that their involvement in the race ultimately came too late to help both Akin and the GOP win back a majority in the Senate.
"They came in because they finally
accepted what I had been saying publicly for weeks and that is that it
was not possible to win a majority in the Senate without winning
Missouri. But by the time they spent the money we were already going to
lose Senate seats not gain them. It was too late," he said.
The NRSC and the Missouri GOP did not respond to requests for comment.
But the revelation that the NRSC pumped funds into the state party, even as it had disavowed its own candidate in the senate race there, is likely to renew calls of hypocrisy from Democrats. When the news of the ad buy broke in late October, the NRSC declined to comment on whether it was involved, but Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil accused the NRSC of "purposely misleading the media and voters."
Matt Canter, communications director for the DSCC, again accused the NRSC of "purposely mislead[ing] the public."
"It is not only wrong that the NRSC would provide funds to support a dangerous extremist like Todd Akin, it was underhanded and dishonest that they would purposely mislead the public about their actions," he said in an email to The Hill.
The final push, however, wasn't enough to bring Akin home: McCaskill won reelection by 15 percentage points.
--This piece has been updated to reflect Rick Tyler's comments.