The top adviser to Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) Senate campaign is glad the NRSC finally came around and surreptitiously dropped more than $700,000 on Missouri to help Akin win. He just wishes they hadn’t repeatedly and publicly condemned his candidate first.
Rick Tyler, the former Newt Gingrich adviser who guided Akin’s campaign through the general election, suggests that rather than Akin and his comments about “legitimate rape” dragging down Republican candidates nationwide, it was bad decisions by national Republicans that sunk his candidate.
“The NRSC’s actions reflected its incompetent leadership,” Tyler told TPM Friday. “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.”
Late Thursday night, reporters finally had proof that the NRSC spent heavily on Akin’s behalf, despite vowing to stay out of the race after Akin refused to withdraw following the rape blow up. Though the NRSC wouldn’t talk about it at the time — nor will it now — FEC filings show national Republicans gave $760,000 to the Missouri GOP to pay for TV ads in the race’s final week.
Despite the late spending, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) won in a landslide.
Democrats said the proof of the ad buys shows the NRSC was “underhanded and dishonest” in Missouri. Tyler says it would have been more helpful if GOP leaders hadn’t lined up to publicly dismiss Akin’s chances.
“By abandoning Akin and choosing to be actively destructive, the NRSC and [Karl] Rove hurt every Republican on the ballot in Missouri,” he said. “McCaskill’s final television ad using party leadership’s statements against Akin was devastating.”
In the end, Tyler says it makes sense that the NRSC put money into Missouri. He suggests it may have been more helpful if they’d made their support public as well.
“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,” he said. “But by the time they spent the money we were already going to lose Senate seats not gain them. It was too late.”