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GOP compares Schweitzer to Akin in Mont. Senate fight

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The Senate GOP campaign arm is taking aim at former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s potential 2014 Senate bid, warning that if the “loud-mouthed” Democrat enters the race he would be the next Rep. W. Todd Akin, the Republican whose comments about “legitimate rape” sank his 2012 campaign and tarnished his party’s national brand.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) said in an email blast Monday that they’ve been gearing up for Mr. Schweitzer to seek the seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, and found that the ex-governor is a “deeply flawed candidate.”

“If anyone is looking for the 2014 cycle’s Todd Akin, we’ve found him, and his name is Brian Schweitzer,” said NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring. “The difference is that Schweitzer’s pattern of inappropriate and offensive gaffes are a result of narcissism, bullying and bluster. Jump in the pool, governor! Water’s warm!”

The Akin-fueled criticism of Mr. Schweitzer comes after the NRSC funneled $760,000 to the Missouri Republican party in late October — money that Politico reported helped the state party cover the cost of a last ditch pro-Akin ad campaign.

Mr. Akin came under fire in the summer of 2012 after he said that the female body has ways of rejecting pregnancy in cases of legitimate rape — comments that earned him condemnation from many high-profile voices in the party. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, went on to win re-election in the race, which was emblematic of the GOP’s inability to capitalize on the slow economic growth and high unemployment under President Obama.

The 2014 Senate race in Montana, meanwhile, promises to be one of the most watched contests and could be key to the GOP’s chances of capturing the six seats, net, that it needs to take over the upper chamber. Mr Schweitzer is seen as the Democrats’ best hope of holding the Baucus seat.

“If former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) surprises everyone and doesn’t run for the open Senate seat of retiring Democrat Max Baucus in Montana, Republicans will have another likely pick up,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said in a recent breakdown of the race.

Public Policy Polling also released a poll last month showed that the race would be a toss-up between Mr. Schweitzer and the likely GOP contenders, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and former Gov. Marc Racicot.

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