Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) will consider throwing his political and financial support behind Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), if the controversial Senate hopeful stays in the race, The Hill reports.
"I’m certainly looking at the race now," DeMint said. "Todd’s a good conservative; he’s been a good representative for a long time. He did make a mistake and said it was a mistake ... I’m going to look at the race and I would encourage [NRSC Chairman] John Cornyn (R-Texas) to look at all races where Republicans have a chance to win."
In their campaign to retake the Senate, the GOP had originally set high hopes on the Missouri race. But since Akin made an infamous charge that women's bodies were physiologically designed to prevent pregnancies resulting from a "legitimate rape," the Republican establishment has run headlong away from his candidacy. The national leadership, including Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, publicly called for Akin to withdraw from the race and allow for the nomination of another candidate.
But Akin, who apologized for the insensitive comments hours after making them in a television interview, has so far refused to leave the race and has shown no signs of bowing to Republican pressure. If he is to withdraw his name from the ballot, The Washington Post writes that he must effectively do so by the close of business on Friday -- a move that is looking less and less likely, given all of the logistical hoops Akin would have to jump through.
Republicans are coming to terms with the reality of Akin's candidacy.
"God has spoken: Todd is running," one Missouri GOP strategist told The Washington Post on Thursday. "Our loins are girded."
As the head of the Senate Conservatives Fund, DeMint commands millions of dollars that could make significant differences in close races through targeted ad buys. He has already invested in Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Rep. Jeff Flake (R) in Arizona, Ted Cruz in Texas and Josh Mandel in Ohio.
For DeMint, the overarching goal is putting conservatives back in control of the Senate chamber.
"I think we need to take every Republican candidate around the country and do what we can to elect them. He’s certainly within striking distance," DeMint said of Akin. "If the people of Missouri -- if they’re going to throw him out because of one mistake, that’s tough."
And Akin could certainly use the cash. He has thus far not met with much success on filling his own campaign coffers, and the NRSC and outside conservative groups like American Crossroads will not be sending any of the millions they had originally pledged to Missouri to get him elected. Akin has, however, garnered some support from Christian conservative groups.
When asked by The Hill reporters Thursday whether or not the NRSC would reconsider backing Akin if he remained on the ballot, Cornyn didn't budge.
"We're done," he said.
This isn't the first time that DeMint has broken from Cornyn on backing Senate candidates; during the 2010 cycle, he supported Tea Party stars Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) against Cornyn's wishes.
While Akin does not have the same Tea Party credentials, he has remained competitive with McCaskill in recent weeks, according to polls, without running much of an advertising campaign.