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The Brief: Nov. 1, 2012

Less than a week before Election Day, a money mystery in Missouri's U.S. Senate race may lead back to Texas.

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The Big Conversation:

Less than a week before Election Day, a money mystery in Missouri's U.S. Senate race may lead back to Texas. 

As reported Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, the controversial GOP Senate candidate from Missouri, is preparing to launch a $700,000 ad campaign in the final days of the race with a $386,000 assist from the Missouri Republican Party.

Where the state party got the money, though, has attracted more attention than the ad buy itself. The party had only $375,000 cash on hand as of last month, and only national committees, like the Republican National Committee or the National Republican Senatorial Committee, are allowed to move funds to state parties to buy ads.

On Wednesday, however, the NRSC repeatedly declined to tell both Politico and The Hill whether it had provided the money to the Missouri GOP. The RNC and the state party wouldn't say, either.

The Texas twist? U.S. Sen. John Cornyn chairs the NRSC, and earlier this fall he joined several national Republicans in disavowing Akin for saying that women's bodies reject pregnancy in instances of "legitimate rape." In September, Cornyn said the NRSC was "done" with Akin and didn't think he could win his race against his Democratic opponent, incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill

As Politico puts it, any help provided to Akin by the NRSC would amount to a "stunning reversal" for Cornyn, who had urged Akin to leave the race.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slammed its GOP counterpart on Wednesday, telling The Hill that Republicans were "purposely misleading the media and voters" by not disclosing whether the national party made the donation.

Such a reversal, however, may not be entirely surprising. Though McCaskill leads by 5 points in RealClearPolitics' average of polls conducted in the state, Akin has pulled within the margin of error in a couple of recent surveys, signaling that the race may be less of an uphill climb than Republicans once thought.

Culled:

  • The new state-run Women's Health Program was supposed to launch today, but as the Tribune's Becca Aaronson reported Wednesday, the program won't start until the legal drama over the program — which has been caught up in controversy involving abortion and Planned Parenthood — has passed. News of the delay came the same day Gov. Rick Perry called a press conference reiterating his support for cutting off state money to clinics affiliated with abortion providers.
  • In the latest TV ad out of the heated Congressional District 23 race, state Rep. Pete Gallego attacks Republican incumbent Francisco "Quico" Canseco of San Antonio for his views on the DREAM Act and Arizona-style immigration laws.

  • Following Texas' lead, Iowa has become the second state to lash out against international election monitors who plan to observe polling places next week. Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz this week threatened the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, an election watchdog group, with criminal action if its observers come within 300 feet of an election site, Politico reports. The group last week tussled with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott after he made similar threats.

"The sleeping giant of the Texas Latino vote is poised to awaken and alter the fate of every future election." — Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and actress Eva Longoria in a column for Politico

Must-Read:

Early voting ends Friday! Use the secretary of state's website to find a polling place.

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