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3 Things Karl Rove Doesn't Want You to Know

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Karl Rove is back on his heels because of the grassroots backlash to his new super PAC, created to defeat conservative candidates in Republican primary elections. Rove has no defense for his open hostility toward the party's base so he's making things up.

On Fox News last night, Rove said "It's amazing to me that people think Todd Akin is the best we could've come up with."

Nobody in the conservative movement believes Todd Akin was the best we could get. That's simply untrue and Rove knows it. But he's really stepped in it this time so he's desperate for any excuse to justify his actions.

Here are three things about the 2012 Senate race in Missouri that Karl Rove doesn't want you to know. If the media covered these facts, the bottom in Rove's argument would completely fall out.

1) Conservative groups did not support Todd Akin in the primary. In fact, Todd Akin was SCF's least favorite candidate. We made this known publicly during the primary, telling POLITICO that Akin was the "the weakest candidate in the field..."

2) Most conservative voters in Missouri did not support Todd Akin in the primary. In fact, Todd Akin only received 36% of the vote, but won because it was a three-way contest with no run-off election. So it's inaccurate to blame the conservative base for Akin's nomination when 64% voted against him.

3) The Republican establishment was largely responsible for Todd Akin's victory because they supported a third candidate, which split the vote and lowered the hurdle Akin had to jump over to win the race. If the establishment — in all their wisdom — had stayed out of the race, Sarah Steelman would have won the primary and defeated Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Read this excerpt from an October 18, 2012 story in POLITICO.
David Steelman, whose wife Sarah Steelman was one of three candidates in the three-way GOP primary, charged that while the NRSC never publicly endorsed a candidate, its preference was first-time candidate John Brunner, who had the ability to self-fund a race.

Steelman argued that the NRSC’s implicit support of Brunner — at a time when Steelman was already ahead of McCaskill in polls — “created the dynamic that let Akin win.”

“They kept saying to me Akin cannot win and I kept telling them he was going to, if Brunner and his allies — and I meant NRSC — was obsessed with Steelman. They told me absolutely clearly up until polling changed that Akin could not win,” Steelman told POLITICO.

This part of the story is something the establishment has worked very hard to hide. They say they encouraged John Brunner to enter the race because Steelman's early fundraising was weak, but that's not the whole story. They didn't like Steelman because she was anti-establishment and refused to let them run her campaign. They knew that if she was elected, she would likely become a thorn in side of the party's leadership in the Senate. The truth is, the establishment's hostility toward conservatives is what really cost the party this seat.

So if Karl Rove and the Republican establishment want to work against conservative candidates in primary elections, they are certainly entitled to do so. But they need to be honest about what they're doing and they need to stop using Todd Akin as an excuse. Conservatives aren't responsible for nominating Akin or losing that Senate seat. They are.

Posted By: Matt Hoskins, SCF Executive Director
Category: Senate Races   Tags: MO12  Sarah Steelman  Todd Akin  John Brunner  Karl Rove  
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