That didn’t take long.
Barely 24 hours after he entered the 2012 U.S. Senate race, former Treasurer Sarah Steelman lobbed what could be described as the first criticism at U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country.
Specifically, Steelman chastised Akin for voting for a budget deal that likely forestalled a government shutdown in April. From an e-mail just sent a few minutes ago:
This problem needs to be solved NOW. Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain are crashing under the weight of debt and we will soon be joining them if Washington doesn’t have a plan to control spending and reduce our debt. Standard and Poors, the credit rating agency has already downgraded our debt rating to a negative outlook, another warning signal and yet Congress does nothing but talk talk talk.
Now Congressman Todd Akin has announced that he will run in the primary for Senate. But he voted for the weak-kneed budget compromise between the House Republicans and President Obama. I would have demanded that the Republican Party honor its campaign commitment and exact the full $100 billion in cuts ($62 billion prorated). Akin’s failure to do so showed the House Republicans to be toothless dragons as we battle over the debt limit.
The House should be proactive and use their leverage to vote on current cuts combined with systemic changes in the budgeting process which means passing a balanced budget amendment with a limitation on the size of government relative to the GDP (gross domestic product), and they should defund Obamacare.
Akin told the Associated Press that the budget deal was critical to funding the Department of Defense.
Up until yesterday, Steelman was the lone challenger to U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. Now it is looking like she will join Akin and possibly businessman John Brunner in the race to take on the first-term Democratic senator.
Akin starts the race with a fundraising advantage - he has over $900,000 in the bank. Steelman - who is the only candidate in the race who has run statewide so far - raised only $186,000 last quarter and has $193,527 of cash on hand.
It’s official: U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, is running for the U.S. Senate.
Akin made the announcement Tuesday in Creve Coeur. Political luminaries attending the event included U.S. Congress aspirants Ann Wagner and Ed Martin. Some state lawmakers who were in attendance include House Majority Leader Tim Jones, R-Eureka, Reps. Dwight Scharnhorst, R-St. Louis County, Kathy Conway, R-St. Charles County, Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, and Gary Fuhr, R-St. Louis County.
Akin joins former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and possibly businessman John Brunner in the GOP primary. The winner will face off against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
State Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, told Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon that she may run for U.S. Congress if U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, runs for Senate:
Cunningham is considering a bid for the U.S. House seat in the 2nd congressional district — but only if Republican incumbent Todd Akin opts not to seek re-election. He is getting Republican encouragement to run for the U.S. Senate instead.
“I would not run against Rep. Akin,” Cunningham said. “I would only run if it’s an open seat.”
Cunningham (left) is among several Republicans interested — publicly or privately — in running for Congress in the 2nd District, should Akin move on. Former Missouri GOP chair Ann Wagner, who is still mulling over a Senate bid herself, is also believed to be considering a 2nd District bid if it becomes an open seat.
Considering she only won in 2006 by a small margin in what was considered a very Democratic year, it isn’t all that surprising that Sen. Claire McCaskill’s bid for a second term would be pegged by observers as competitive.
There has never been any doubt that Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill would have a difficult race in her bid for a second term. She is running in a politically marginal state in year in which President Obama, who is not popular in Missouri, will lead the Democratic ticket. Over the past two weeks, McCaskill’s road to re-election has hit some turbulence largely of her own making that has only served to render the already vulnerable incumbent even more vulnerable, despite not knowing who her Republican challenger will be. McCaskill’s path to re-election has become bumpy enough to warrant a rating change from Lean Democratic to Toss Up.
It’s worth noting that Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, another political prognostication conduit, listed McCaskill’s bid for re-election as a toss-up earlier this month.
McCaskill’s re-election bid is one of seven Democratic races that the Cook Political Report views as the toss-up. It also lists two Republican races as toss-ups as well.
The Fix - one of the Washington Post’s most popular political blogs - examined what it calls “the McCaskill vacuum.”
That aforementioned term refers to the fact that no single candidate in the Missouri U.S. Senate race has emerged as the primary threat to Sen. Claire McCaskill’s re-election bid.
From the post:
Former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and former congressional candidate Ed Martin are already in the race, while Rep. Todd Akin and former Ambassador to Luxembourg Ann Wagner,who ran for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee earlier this year, are both weighing their options.
Depending on who you ask, none of the above names is the party’s ideal candidate for the seat. And given McCaskill’s problems, it would seem some other Republicans might see a golden opportunity to get to the Senate..
But former Sen. Jim Talent and Reps. Sam Graves and Jo Ann Emerson have already said they won’t run, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is likely to run for governor, and former Gov. Matt Blunt, who has worked in Washington since leaving office, has never been seriously mentioned for the post. (Plus his father, Roy, is the state’s other senator. Matt Blunt told The Fix he doesn’t “have any plans” to run — which isn’t a categorical denial but seems genuine.)
Politico reporter Dave Catanese called into Mark Reardon’s KMOX radio show Tuesday afternoon to discuss the political fallout from Sen. Claire McCaskill’s use of a private airplane.
In the interview with Reardon, the former KY3 reporter said the controversy would be a test of McCaskill’s brand. And while he said it may complicate her re-election prospects, he added it may not be a “death blow.”
Click on the audio clip to hear Catanese’s take on the situation.
Ed Martin, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, released a statement this morning expressing apprehension regarding President Barack Obama’s decision to intervene militarily in Libya.
As Robert Koenig reported in his article for the St. Louis Beacon, reaction to the decision to intervene has been mixed. Some lawmakers - such as U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, and U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville - have expressed support for the action. Others - such as U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis and number of left-of-center Democrats - have expressed outright wariness to the decision.
Koenig also noted there are Republicans - U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country - who are criticized Obama for not “defining the mission.” In his statement, Martin seems to fall into the category
“Our President has authorized putting our military forces at risk without explaining to the American people what the compelling national interest is in Libya beyond this vague notion of preventing humanitarian disaster,” Martin said in the statement. “How exactly is participating in the erosion of Libyan air defenses, ground forces and knocking out Libyan government installations advancing America’s interests in the region? How will our actions prevent civilian deaths?”
“In the end, our Senators and Representatives are responsible to the American people for how the lives and resources of America are spent in conflicts, just as much as the President is,” Martin added. “While the President ought to be afforded some latitude on emergent situations, a robust debate is owed to America without delay.”
Martin - along with state Treasurer Sarah Steelman - is one of two announced Republican candidates in next year’s U.S. Senate race. Akin and former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner are also mulling bids for the 2012 contest.
There are new wrinkles to the controversy over Sen. Claire McCaskill’s use of a private plane for travel.
Politico reports that McCaskill failed to pay personal property taxes on a plane for the past four years. From the article:
She’s also planning on selling the plane, which she co-owns with her husband, after POLITICO revealed last week that she had used taxpayer dollars for a political trip around her home state of Missouri. McCaskill had spent $76,000 from her Senate budget on trips on the aircraft over the past four years.
McCaskill called a Monday press conference after POLITICO asked questions about whether she had paid her personal property taxes on the aircraft.
“I have convinced my husband to sell the damn plane,” McCaskill said on a conference call with reporters. “I will never set foot on the plane again.”
The senator told reporters that she had discovered the non-payment herself when she “put on my auditor’s hat” and probed all aspects of the plane’s finances as a result of the attacks, many made by Republicans, over her use of the family-owned plane for political and congressional flights.
“I take full responsibility for the mistake,” McCaskill said, adding that no personal property taxes had been paid the county because of an oversight as to the state and local laws regarding such taxes.
Additionally, Politico reporter Dave Catanese posted a Web video [above] from the National Republican Senatorial Committee lambasting McCaskill on the issue.
McCaskill is expected to face a tough challenge for re-election next year. Two Republicans - former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and attorney Ed Martin - have jumped into the GOP primary to run against McCaskill. Two others - U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, and former Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner - are mulling over bids.
The Hill reports that U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and County, is not ruling out a run next year against U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.
From the article:
Reps. Sam Graves (R) and Jo Ann Emerson (R) have both passed on challenging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D). But six-term Rep. Todd Akin (R) won’t “discount” making a run.
Republicans have been watching with some trepidation as several well-known candidates flirted with nomination bids. A contentious primary could benefit McCaskill, who admits she is the “underdog” in her reelection contest. The GOP field so far only includes attorney Ed Martin and former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman.
A new survey by Public Policy Polling shows Akin essentially tied with McCaskill, while the Democrat leads Steelman 45-42 and tops Martin, a former congressional candidate, 46-40. In a possible match up with former ambassador Ann Wagner (R), McCaskill would win 45-36, according to the survey of 612 Missouri voters. The March 2-6 poll’s margin-of-error was plus-or-minus 4 percent.
Akin told me on Saturday that he wouldn’t rule out a run against McCaskill. GOP senate candidate Ed Martin said in my St. Louis Beacon article that Akin - who won a tough primary to get into national politics - would the primary “very competitive.”
There’s been a lot of speculation over the past weeks about whether members of Missouri’s Republican congressional delegation will try to upend U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, and Jo Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, mulled over bids, but decided against a U.S. Senate run. There was even some chatter about U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, getting into race, although the two-term lawmaker also chose to remain in the House.
What about U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Town and Country? The five-term lawmaker told me on Saturday that “when it comes a year and a month, I’ll have to go down to Jeff City and sign up for something.”
So far, the major announced candidates are former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and attorney Ed Martin. Former Missouri Republican Party chairwoman Ann Wagner could also get into the race.
In addition to inquiring whether he is considering running for U.S. Senate next year, I asked Akin about the 2010 and 2012 election cycles and President Barack Obama’s effect on the political landscape. Click on the audio clip above for more.