Independent Republican groups are making one last push in support of Rep. Todd Akin's Senate candicacy, spending money on Missouri TV ads in the campaign's final days.
The Now or Never super PAC, which backed former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman over Akin in the GOP primary, announced today that it would spend $800,000 to air a spot in Missouri encouraging voters supporting GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to vote for Akin to help Republicans win control of the Senate.
"Mitt Romney can take our nation in a new direction, but he needs a Senate that supports him," the ad says. "You don't have to agree with everything he says, but you can be sure, in the Senate, Akin will vote for Romney's policies."
The ad seems geared to potential ticket-splitters supporting Romney and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Romney is expected to carry Missouri fairly easily. The state is not considered a presidential battleground even though Obama narrowly lost it in 2008.
Tyler Harber, a spokesman for the PAC, conceded that the group would have preferred another Republican in the race, which became a tougher challenge after Akin's nomination and his subsequent comments about "legitimate rape."
“Todd Akin may have not been our first choice for Republican nominee in the race to replace Claire McCaskill,” Harber said. “But Congressman Akin plays an important role in securing the Senate chamber.”
The most recent polls show McCaskill ahead, but in some polls the race has tightened. Separately, the Missouri Republican Party is making a late buy coordinated with Akin's campaign, which Democratic observers say will be for about $700,000.
McCaskill was on the campaign trail in St. Louis today, appearing with a group of educators in support of the federal school lunch program. Akin has said that he would like to see the program returned to local control. McCaskill returned to the campaign trail after the death of her mother, Betty Anne Ward McCaskill, on Monday.
Roll Call rates the Missouri Senate race as Leans Democratic.