When you live over the San Andreas fault, those little East Coast earthquakes don’t merit much attention. And so it is that the Missouri Senate race is perhaps the only close contest not affected by Richard Mourdock’s comments about rape, contraception and God’s will.
“It’s had fairly little impact here,” Adrianne Marsh, Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D) campaign manager told TPM on a conference call Thursday.
Mourdock’s name didn’t come up on the McCaskill call until reporters asked about it, which made the call stand out among Democratic communications this week since they’re usually filled with references to the Indiana Republican. Marsh hosted the call to debut three new ads featuring Missourians explaining why they’re not going to vote for Rep. Todd Akin (R). Here’s an example about the minimum wage:
McCaskill’s race has been defined by Akin’s “legitimate rape” remark from August, which made it into some hard-hitting TV ads last month. But the three ads the McCaskill campaign debuted as a closing argument Thursday were focused on more traditional issues like Medicare and entitlement programs.
That’s in contrast with Democratic messaging in major Senate races across the country. They’ve been all over Mourdock’s words in Indiana, leading Republican nominees all over the country to distance themselves from Mourdock as quickly as possible (save for Ohio Republican Josh Mandel, who is walking into a debate Thursday night having given him Mourdock a strong endorsement.) For their part, Democrats are name-dropping Mourdock at every opportunity.
Akin’s campaign didn’t respond to a request from TPM for comment on Mourdock’s comments Wednesday. Marsh told reporters the Mourdock comments just aren’t on Team McCaskill’s radar.
“Aside from seeing them in the clips, not a whole lot,” she said when asked what impact Mourdock’s comments had on the race.
The PollTracker Average shows McCaskill comfortably ahead, leading Akin by a margin of 47.8 to 39.1.
Marsh said the race is still fluid heading into the final days. But Team McCaskill is feeling good, thanks in no small part to its own nationally covered rape comment scandal.
“We will admit that we’re in a pretty fortunate position,” Marsh said. “But we’re trying to remind everyone that the polls are all over the place and you can’t necessarily take anything today for gospel because in two days everything could change. It entirely depends. So we are going to continually persuade independent voters and we’re going to continue to talk to Democrats and urge them to get out and vote.”
It’s unlikely at this point that any of that persuasion will feature Mourdock’s name.