Something Stinks In St. Louis
In July of 1980, Ronald Reagan polled behind Jimmy Carter. Many at that point thought Carter was shoe-in for reelection. Over the period of August – October, Reagan steam rolled him. Roll forward to July, 2012, in Missouri John Bruner and Sarah Steeleman were in a virtual tie for the republican nomination to challenge Claire MacCaskill for the United States senate. Each polling in the high 30’s to low 40’s with Congressman Todd Akin bringing up the rear somewhere around 12 – 15%. In three weeks time, Todd Akin goes from dead last and out of contention to soundly defeating both Steeleman and Bruner. Last time I checked, Todd Akin isn’t even close to being in the same league as Ronald Reagan.
Claire MacCaskill at the time was polling almost 10 point behind both Bruner and Steeleman and was in within the margin of error against Akin. Now Aunt Claire is ahead of and pulling away from Todd Akin. What I and so many others here in Missouri would like to know is what really happened in those three weeks leading up to that primary.
What we know: Todd Akin is a congressman from the St. Louis area but is almost a complete unknown in the rest of the state. Claire MacCaskill was able to defeat Jim Talent for her senate seat because of an extremely strong showing in the St. Louis area, where she received almost 80% of the vote. Jim Talent took the rest of the state. John Bruner and Sarah Steeleman split almost every section of the state except for St. Louis. Steeleman and Bruner finished with less than 3000 votes separating them but Todd Akin managed to defeat them both by almost 10,000 votes though he finished last in 80% of Missouri’s counties. Todd Akin was outspent outside of the St. Louis metro almost 40 to 1 by the combination of Bruner and Steeleman. Todd Akin literally had no money to spend outside of the St. Louis area.
What we all saw: The MacCaskill campaign shot multiple radio and TV ads opposing all three candidates though hardly any of those against Steeleman or Bruner ever made it on the air. In fact, 95% of her advertisement opposing Steeleman and Bruner was pulled from the Kansas City & Springfield areas by the third week of June, 7 weeks before the election and we got bombarded with “Don’t Vote Todd Akin” ads.
1) How does someone who is virtually unknown outside of St. Louis manage to gain 25 percentage points in 21 days spending almost no money and making less than 5 appearances outside of St. Louis.?
2) How did Claire MacCaskill know to keep on running ads against Todd Akin and to stop running them against the two frontrunners?
Just two weeks ago (by the time you read this), Todd Akin, a very seasoned politician, goes on television and makes a speaking error of such enormous proportion that it would actually blow the minds of people if that size mistake was made by someone running for the position of local dogcatcher. No politician outside of Joe Biden is THAT dumb.
Todd Akin now has no money, very little in state support, no out of state support, no backing from the RNC, no vote of confidence from the Romney-Ryan campaign, two candidates who can both raise money and defeat MacCaskill waiting in the wings and he refuses to step down as the party’s candidate for the U.S. senate. Every republican power player in the state has requested he step aside. Only MacCaskill and state democrats still support him staying in and he won’t get out of the race.
3) You’re beat and you know you’re beat. Why stay in a race you know you can’t win and by staying, you prevent 2 others who are very capable of winning from actually defeating Claire MacCaskill and blocking the republicans from taking back the senate?
Is it just me or can you too smell the political stench coming from St. Louis?