Sen. Jim DeMint (above) and his Conservative Action Fund are debating whether to back controversial Missouri GOP Senate nominee Todd Akin.
The group expects thousands of people to respond to its survey and likely will make a decision on whether to get involved in the race in the coming days. DeMint and his staff likely would need to see a significant number of pledges in order to step into in a race that has become a thorn in the GOP establishment's side and a threat to the party's takeover of the Senate.
"The race in Missouri appears to still be winnable. The most recent Rasmussen poll shows Todd Akin trailing McCaskill by just 6 points. Congressman Akin may still be able to win this race even after all of the attacks from the liberal media and the Republican establishment," the SCF email today said. "Knowing that Todd Akin will face Claire McCaskill in November and the race could decide control of the Senate, should the Senate Conservatives Fund endorse Akin and help him raise the support he needs to win?"
Akin recently got a boost from former Speaker and former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who attended a fundraiser for the embattled candidate this week.q
For its part, the McCaskill campaign has been using Akin's sudden change of heart on earmarks against him. McCaskill has been one of the most vocal Democratic opponents on earmarks, and several sources indicated it was one of her bigger points of contrast to Akin that would appeal to independent voters.
"Between Todd Akin's inappropriate comments and the fact that he secured $31 million in pork-barrel spending for his campaign donors, a pretty clear picture begins to emerge," McCaskill campaign spokesman Erik Dorey said in a statement Monday. "During his 12 years in Congress, Todd Akin repeatedly funneled taxpayer dollars to his campaign donors, which is exactly the kind of Washington behavior that led Claire to fight for an earmark ban."