Todd Akin receives promises of more campaign cash from conservatives

Former Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo. Whitney Curtis

(CBS News) Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin is slowly making his way back from what many thought was the point of no return. After being shunned by most Republicans for his "legitimate" rape comments, support for the Republican candidate is starting to trickle in.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, a third party group started by conservative Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced Thursday morning that it has pledged at least $290,000 for Akin's quest to beat Democratic incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill.

After surveying its members, the SCF told its supporters in an email, "We've heard you loud and clear so we're going to endorse him today and provide a way for you to immediately swing into action."

Although he doesn't run SCF anymore, DeMint endorsed Akin Wednesday, along with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, whose PAC, Patriot Voices, will also provide monetary support.

"Senator Santorum looks forward to supporting Todd Akin by mobilizing his grassroots supporters in Missouri and by making a PAC contribution. Patriot Voices PAC will also use our call from home program to encourage folks to support Akin and we have hired staff for on-the-ground efforts in Missouri," Patriot Voices spokesperson Virginia Davis wrote in an email.

Although vocal endorsements are meaningful, especially to embattled candidates, monetary support means more. It's a crucial component to running an effective, and winnable, campaign.

McCaskill, however, says Akin is willing to say anything in exchange for campaign cash. A previous supporter of congressional earmarks, Akin came out against them last week. One of the Senate Conservatives Fund's major priorities is getting rid of the congressional spending directives.

After causing a firestorm by saying in an interview that female victims of "legitimate" rape are unlikely to get pregnant, Akin ignored a September 25 deadline to drop out, vowing to stay in the race. He appeared at a news conference with former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich who predicted Republicans would come back to the campaign.

Gingrich might be right. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the organizing arm to elect Republicans in the Senate, had said it was pulling its pledged $5 million from Akin's race after the comments. The NRSC is now reconsidering.

"As with every Republican Senate candidate, we hope Todd Akin wins in November and we will continue to monitor this race closely in the days ahead," Rob Jesmer, director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told FoxNews.com.

Although polls show McCaskill with a slight lead after Akin's comments, the race is not lost for Republicans in the red state. The Missouri Senate seat would be an important pick up for Republicans if they want to take back control of the Senate.

McCaskill is already out with an ad reminding voters of Akin's "legitimate" rape comments, and it's an issue she is likely to push until election day.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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