ST. CHARLES, Mo. – When former U.S. Rep. Todd Akin arrived at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend in St. Charles, he was back in his zone.
Akin, a Tea Party favorite who lost his challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill last November after a series of controversial statements, spent several hours at the gathering, where he received friendly greetings from supporters hoping to offer him a pat on the back, their support, and seeking photos with him.
In a brief interview, Akin said he has spent the last 11 months keeping his eyes on the issues, as well as raising money to pay off campaign debt.
“Part of what I’ve been engaged in is not something I’ve chosen and that was we made a mistake with the finances of our campaign, and in the last couple of weeks you have massive amounts of money coming and going and we got that balance off on the wrong side, so we ended up owing about a quarter of a million,” he said.
When asked about his future, Akin did not rule out the possibility to seeking elective office in the future and hinted he may get reengaged from the outside.
“Anything is possible. I don’t know. I just have to take it one day at a time,” he said. “I do have a project coming along with that I’m going to be involved with for a little bit here. Taking it one day at a time and enjoying it.”
Akin said he feels Republicans should not be afraid to focus on the social issues on which McCaskill ended up defining him, particularly his views on abortion. He said Republicans will win elections when they defend their core beliefs.
When asked whether the Republican party or others should be engaging sitting members in primaries – whether it be Roy Blunt in 2016 or legislative Republicans who voted against the tax bill during veto session – Akin indicated he felt primaries are not a bad thing. “I’m about freedom,” he said.
While at CPAC, Akin met with billionaire social conservative Foster Friess, who was a major financier behind Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign in 2012. Friess and Akin spoke for about 20 minutes outside the convention hall, as Akin continues to seek contributions to pay off outstanding campaign debt.
In his remarks to CPAC, Friess reiterated Akin’s point that conservatives should not be afraid to talk about their views on social issues, like Akin and Santorum did in their own campaigns.