The Slatest

Out-of-Control Renegade Senator Brags About Financing Own Opponent, Shotgunning Beer

Mad McCaskill: Fury Road.

Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photo by Sarah Conard/Reuters, Warner Bros.

It’s not a secret that Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill and other Democratic groups spent millions of dollars on 2012 campaign ads that, while ostensibly critical of Republican candidate Todd Akin, were actually designed to endear him to right-wing voters and help him win the GOP primary. (McCaskill and her advisers were betting that Akin would prove himself too extreme to win a general election, and they were right: McCaskill beat him easily after he declared that the “female body” could prevent itself from becoming pregnant after incidents of “legitimate rape.”) It is nonetheless still a little wild to see McCaskill herself bragging about having done so—and about having shotgunned a beer to celebrate Akin’s primary win—via a book excerpt in Politico:

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.

The excerpt as a whole is an insightfully frank glimpse into campaign strategy; McCaskill’s memoir Plenty Ladylike is out this week.