Federal Politics

Published — August 7, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Akin wins Missouri Senate primary, Dems get their wish

Missouri Republican Senate candidates John Brunner, Todd Akin and Sarah Steelman at a forum event in February. The winner of the primary will challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Orlin Wagner/AP

Will face Democrat McCaskill in November

Introduction

Rep. Todd Akin, a six-term lawmaker and evangelical Christian with the support of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, won a hotly contested Republican U.S. Senate primary in Missouri, meaning he will face incumbent Claire McCaskill, a Democrat the GOP considers beatable.

Unlike his two main opponents, Akin was spared from millions of dollars worth of attack ads paid for by outside groups. Super PACs and politically active nonprofits targeted former state treasurer Sarah Steelman, who was endorsed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and millionaire businessman John Brunner.

With all precincts reporting, Akin won 36 percent of the vote, Brunner finished second with 30 percent and Steelman was a close third at 29.2 percent, according to the Missouri Secretary of State’s offfice. Steelman called Akin to concede a little after 10 p.m., according to news reports.

Brunner, a self-funder who enjoyed favorable advertising paid for by the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was the target of more than $1.1 million in attack ads paid for by Majority PAC, the main super PAC focused on helping Democrats retain control of the Senate.

Similarly, McCaskill’s own campaign ran ads against all three Republican candidates. Notably, her advertisements targeting Akin called him “Missouri’s true conservative,” which may have helped the underfunded congressman. The move prompted political observers to note that Akin may be McCaskill’s preferred November rival.

In late July, it looked like Steelman was gaining steam against her rivals. That’s when Palin, the Republican’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, endorsed her. And that’s also when a super PAC sprang into action on her behalf.

During the final two weeks of the race, a pro-Steelman super PAC called Now or Never PAC spent about $700,000 on ads in the race, mostly attacking Brunner.

Now or Never’s top donors include Stanley Herzog, who runs a highway and railroad construction company, who gave $250,000; retired financial executive and income tax opponent Rex Sinquefield, who gave $100,000; and Maxine Steelman, the candidate’s mother-in-law, who gave $50,000.

Steelman was boosted by the political action committee of the Tea Party Express, which invested about $76,000 on television and radio ads backing her candidacy. But she was fervently criticized in ads sponsored by the Chamber, which spent nearly $700,000 on a last-minute spot that argued Steelman and McCaskill were “two peas in a pod.”

Overall, outside groups spent more than $2.2 million during the GOP primary advocating for or against one of the Republican candidates. Nearly 90 percent of the total went to negative advertising, as the Center for Public Integrity previously reported.

The Missouri GOP Senate primary marks the second time in a week where a self-funded candidate went down to defeat. On July 31, former Texas solicitor general Ted Cruz bested Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in a Senate primary runoff.

Brunner, who was long considered the frontrunner in Missouri, likewise spent millions of his personal wealth.

The former CEO of his family’s health products company, Brunner is worth between $25.5 million and $103 million, according to the St. Louis-Post Dispatch.

He contributed nearly $7.6 million of his own money to his campaign, more than 90 percent of the $8.3 million that his campaign raised, all to no avail. Meanwhile, Akin raised about $2.3 million, and Steelman raised about $1.9 million, with $800,000 of it coming from her own pocket.

For her part, McCaskill had about $3.5 million in the bank as of her most recent campaign finance filing in mid-July.

The Missouri Senate race also marks the second recent occasion in which a contentious three-way race saw a surprise victor on Election Day. In May, Republican Deb Fischer won the Nebraska GOP Senate primary after her two main rivals and their allies spent millions attacking each other.

Update (Aug. 8, 1:45 p.m.): This story was updated to include the final vote percentages.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.