It was August 7, 2012, and I was standing in my hotel room in Kansas City about to shotgun a beer for the first time in my life. I had just made the biggest gamble of my political career—a $1.7 million gamble—and it had paid off. Running for reelection to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from Missouri, I had successfully manipulated the Republican primary so that in the general election I would face the candidate I was most likely to beat. And this is how I had promised my daughters we would celebrate.
But first let me go back to the beginning.
During the first week of July 2012, one month before Republicans nominated their candidate for the U.S. Senate, I directed my campaign to go into the field to take a poll of Republicans in Missouri. This was a first for me; never before had I paid $40,000 to a pollster to find out what was on the minds of voters who were never going to vote for me. But this election called for an unusual strategy.
Our poll questioned Republicans about the three people seeking to run against me. At the onset, businessman John Brunner led at 39 percent, with Rep. Todd Akin at 17, and former state treasurer and senator Sarah Steelman at 15. Then we gave the people we were polling a synopsis of each candidate’s message. The results were fascinating.
Akin’s message essentially stated that he was one of the most conservative members of Congress; had consistently voted against government spending and debt; had opposed the Wall Street bailout, the federal stimulus, and the rescue of the automobile companies; had voted no on Obamacare; and was a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus. Akin also promised to restore faith in God as the center of public life in America and had consistently voted to defend the sanctity of human life. The other candidates’ campaign themes were also fairly and fully described: Brunner was a job creator and an ex-Marine, while Steelman was fighting to end the “status quo.”[…]
Read more at Politico.