"We're not going to play in Missouri with Todd Akin, I can tell you that. So it'll be yet to be seen whether he stays in or not," Priebus told ABC's "This Week."
Republican consultant John Hancock, who worked for one of Akin's opponents in the primary, said outside groups had been expected to spend about $15 million to support a Republican Senate candidate in Missouri. Even then, a Republican candidate likely needed to chip in $6 million or $7 million from his own campaign to offset the money from McCaskill and Democratic-aligned groups, Hancock said.
Under that model, a typical candidate would need to be holding about two, $500-a-plate fundraisers a week and as many as five, $2,500-a-plate fundraisers a month, including some out of state, Hancock said.
Gingrich's fundraiser is just one of many that Akin will need in the coming weeks. But if he remains close in the polls to McCaskill, those dollars could start coming a little easier.
"If you get to the first week or second week of October and the Missouri race is still unquestionably part of the equation for getting to 51 senators, then I would be shocked if outside money didn't come in," Hancock said, of the Republican strategy to win control of the Senate.
Akin doesn't expect to recoup all of the financial support he lost. That's why his campaign is focusing heavily on organizing grass-roots coalitions. Akin likely can expect a strong effort from his traditional base of anti-abortion activists and Christian conservatives, but he also needs the support of gun enthusiasts and business owners, some of whom backed Akin's rivals in the Republican primary, Tyler said.
This past week, the inaugural event by a new group of female Akin supporters drew about 300 people in the St. Louis area. A few days later, around 100 turned out for a similar event in Jefferson City, though they were countered by protesters who chanted "rape is rape" while Akin spoke to the crowd.
Julie Thomas, a mother of three from the Lake of the Ozarks, said she took it upon herself to organize the women-for-Akin rally. She described herself as strongly "pro-life" and praised Akin as "a man with unparalleled character."
"Whenever he got thrown under the bus by his own party, I just said, 'uh, uh.' That was a tipping point for me," Thomas said.
Even as top Republicans abandoned Akin after his remarks, McCaskill insisted that she still expected a close Senate race. At their first debate Friday, McCaskill took on the role of a challenger — striking first and furiously with accusations that Akin's positions are too extreme on contraception, Medicare, student loans and other issues.
"Our campaign is working hard and taking nothing for granted," said McCaskill spokeswoman Caitlin Legacki. "You can expect Claire to continue working as if she's running from behind."
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