WASHINGTON — Even as some Republican lawmakers have recently renewed their support for Rep. Todd Akin in his bid for U.S. Senate in Missouri, an influx of cash hasn't followed — and whether it materializes will likely determine whether the embattled Republican has a chance at a comeback.
The floor fell out of Akin's campaign several weeks ago when he suggested women couldn't become pregnant from "legitimate rape," but some conservative leaders have since retured to his corner.
Akin's campaign, which has not yet released its third-quarter fundraising totals, raised $284,000 from April 1 through June 30, and reported $1.4 million on hand at the end of June. Although some Akin aides say traditional fundraising has picked up a bit of late, the campaign continues to operate under the assumption that most major donors and outside groups will sit this race out.
But Akin's supporters hope that, with, control of the Senate on the line, Republicans might be forced to give Akin a second look. Whether they do is the next big question in the race for the U.S. Senate in Missouri.
Rod Jetton, a former Republican speaker of the House in Missouri who works now as a political analyst, said major donors have about a week left to reevaluate and contribute money to Akin if they want to make a difference in the race.
But, Jetton told BuzzFeed, donors will remain wary of investing in Akin who, as a candidate, has been inconsistent at best.
"I don't know that they have the confidence that the last four weeks of the campaign will be any different from what the past six weeks have been, from a messaging standpoint," Jetton said.
"Let's be honest," he added. "Whether they like Todd Akin or not — and they don’t — if it can put them to 50, it doesn’t matter: They're going to have to spend the money. But these misstatements make them wonder if they should be spending money in one of the other contested races."
"Your standard Romney bundler is not going to start bundling for Todd Akin," said Jeff Smith, a professor at the New School and a former Democratic Missouri state senator. "That person would be embarrassed to bring Todd Akin to Manhattan."
Because major Missouri donors have also stayed away, Smith told BuzzFeed, outside groups will be the ones who keep Akin afloat—or not, as the case may be.
"Obviously this is the seat of last resort, the one they don't want to have to give to, but it keeps coming back," Smith said. "If they can figure out any way to get the Senate back without spending money in Missouri, they'll do it."
Akin's Democratic opponent, Sen. Claire McCaskill, who this week posted a massive third-quarter fundraising total of $5.8 million, and in June reserved $3 million-worth of TV ad time for the final month of the campaign. Yet, still, Akin is polling within roughly six points of McCaskill.