Washington, D.C. — Despite vows to abandon Rep. Todd Akin, Senate Republicans inched back into the Missouri Senate race Tuesday, accusing Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of voting for measures that helped her husband’s business.
“Sen. McCaskill should apologize to the people of Missouri who sent her to Washington to rein in the size of the federal government, not to max out the government credit card and then get richer off of it,” said Rob Jesmer, the executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“This is just the latest in a long line of broken promises to Missourians and hypocritical conduct in Washington by Claire McCaskill.”
(Responding to similar criticism from Akin’s campaign, McCaskill said Tuesday that she and her husband did not personally profit from the government money.)
Rick Tyler, a spokesperson for Akin, said the campaign “would welcome” the NRSC back to the Missouri Senate race—but, when asked if Akin’s campaign had communicated with the NRSC about such a strategy, Tyler replied via email, “No comment.”
Although the committee has apparently returned to attacking McCaskill, one Republican close to Akin’s campaign predicted that the committee’s attention would remain focused on other races.
“They aren’t going to be helpful,” the source told BuzzFeed.
Still, the NRSC statement signals a shift in strategy. Less than two weeks ago, Sen. John Cornyn, the committee’s chair, said he thought the Senate contest in Missouri was “not a winnable race” for Republicans, and the committee indicated it would not commit resources to boost Akin.
The committee first pulled its support for Akin after he said in a televised interview that women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in the case of “legitimate rape.”
But in recent weeks, Akin received endorsements from former Republican detractors including Sen. Roy Blunt and former Sen. Kit Bond, both of Missouri; and he has kept within six points of McCaskill even after groups and major donors, including the senatorial committee, refused to donate to his campaign, signaling a still-competitive race.
The NRSC did not respond to a request for further comment.
This post has been updated.
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