By DAVID A. LIEB, Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Insisting his fundraising has rebounded after a nationally publicized gaffe, Republican Rep. Todd Akin said Friday that TV viewers in Missouri should expect to see his U.S. Senate ads all the way until Election Day.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Akin's campaign has been whether he will be able to raise enough money to spread his message after being deserted by some big-dollar donors because of remarks he made last month about women's bodies having ways of avoiding pregnancy in cases of "legitimate rape."
Akin has run two solid weeks of statewide TV ads since those remarks. His initial ads featured a public apology while subsequent ads sought to shift the focus to the record of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, whom he is challenging in the Nov. 6 election. Those ads ended earlier this week on some major market TV stations, raising questions about whether Akin's finances were getting tight.
Advertising records show Akin's campaign booked additional spots Friday on at least one Kansas City television station to run through next Wednesday. The Federal Communications Commission only requires stations in the largest media markets to post their political ad sales to its website. In Missouri, that requirement applies only to stations in Kansas City and St. Louis.
"Our plan is to have enough money to stay on (TV) through the election," Akin said after a campaign where he solicited online donations from more than 50 people attending a meeting of the Columbia Pachyderm Club.
Akin told the group he has received a positive response from many rank-and-file Republicans since rejecting the calls of party leaders — including presidential candidate Mitt Romney — to quit the Senate race because of his rape comments.
"The first thing we saw was this massive level of contributions and envelopes and letters encouraging me: 'You stand up, don't you give into those party bosses,'" Akin said.
When Akin sought questions from the audience Friday, several people instead stood up to express how frustrated they were that national Republican leaders had turned against Akin. One club member, Wayne Ambrust, told Akin he initially thought Akin should have dropped out but then changed his mind and instead contributed money to Akin's campaign.
Akin has raised about $400,000 in a little over two weeks from a small-dollar, online fundraising drive launched after he apologized for his remarks, said Akin campaign spokesman Ryan Hite. He said Akin started the general election with several hundred thousand dollars in his account after winning the Aug. 7 Republican primary.
McCaskill, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, entered the general election campaign with significantly more money. She had $3.5 million in mid-July, which was her last required federal reporting date.
McCaskill debuted a new TV ad Friday touting herself as a moderate and highlighting a report that ranked her right in the middle among senators on a scale of liberal to conservative.
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