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Monday, October 15, 2012

McCaskill Spends Heavily to Ward Off Akin Threat

Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat fighting to keep her seat, spent nearly $7 million over a three-month period through the end of September and her campaign had more than $2.1 million in the bank for her race against Representative Todd Akin, according to quarterly disclosure reports her campaign released on Monday.

Ms. McCaskill's feverish fund-raising â€" she raised more than $5.8 million during the quarter â€" presents formidable challenges for Mr. Akin, whose campaign declined to release its quarterly fund-raising totals. While the campaign was required to mail the totals to the Federal Election Commission on Monday, it did not have to make them public. The numbers will become available for all to see once the commission files the reports.

Fund-raising has been a concern for Mr. Akin ever since he made controversial comments about rape and abortion in August. Most of the Republican establishment dropped its support for him and two big donors, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and American Crossroads, said they no would no longer spend the millions of dollars they had planned to on the race.

Ms. McCaskill has been enjoying what appears to be a sizable cash advantage. “We are certainly overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and incredibly appreciative for every family that gave 5, 10, 25 dollars, or whatever they can,” Caitlin Legacki, a spokeswoman for Ms. McCaskill, said in an interview.

Since Mr. Akin's comments that victims of  “legitimate rape” had a biological mechanism to fight off pregnancy, his campaign has raised $1 million in online donations, it says. He also has gotten commitments of several hundred thousand dollars from conservative groups. But it remains to be seen whether that money, or his own campaign's fund-raising, will be able to let him keep pace with his opponent.

Through Saturday, independent groups opposing Mr. Akin or su pporting Ms. McCaskill had spent more than $3 million on the race, or more than three times as much as those on the opposite side.

The Senate seat was once seen as one of the Republicans' best bets in its fight to win control of the Senate. Mr. Akin had a lead in the polls coming off his primary victory, but he has since found himself battling from behind.