A powerful conservative PAC said today that "circumstances have changed" and it is reconsidering its decision to withhold funds for Todd Akin's bid for a Missouri Senate seat, and Akin's campaign said today they expect other groups will also resume spending.
The statement by the Senate Conservatives Fund, a PAC led by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, comes as the 5 p.m. CT deadline for Akin to quit the race looms.
Democrat warns Akin could still win Missouri Senate race
The campaign remains adamant that Akin will stay in the race, despite urging from the GOP hierarchy, including Mitt Romney.
"In the words of Churchill, Todd will never, never, never, never quit," spokesman Rick Tyler told ABC News.
Read how Akin's "legitimate rape" comment could hurt Mitt Romney here
The campaign is encouraged by the first sign of outside help since Akin's disastrous comments in August that women don't become pregnant from "legitimate rape."
Shortly after the controversy erupted, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Mason-Dixon poll showed Democrat incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill leading by nine points.
Several Republican PACs also withdrew their financial support, despite the fact that Missouri could be crucial to GOP hopes of winning control of the Senate.
But DeMint's group has recently polled its members asking them, "Knowing that Todd Akin will face Claire McCaskill in November and the race could decide control of the Senate, should the Senate Conservatives Fund endorse Akin and help him raise the support he needs to win?"
Executive Director Matt Hoskins told ABC News today, "Circumstances have changed in two important ways … the deadline has passed. He is the Republican candidate, he will be on the ballot. And the choice is between him and Claire McCaskill."
In his email to PAC members, Hoskins write, "The race in Missouri appears to still be winnable."
Tyler said the campaign is optimistic that other groups will also decide to back Akin.
"We're hopeful they do it," Tyler said.
"I think within a couple weeks, we'll have a bunch of groups out here spending money," Tyler said. "I don't think you can win the Senate without Missouri, and to try to do it is malpractice."
Akin had been shunned by the rest of the Republican Party until Monday when Newt Gingrich campaigned with Akin in the congressional district Akin has represented for six consecutive terms. The former House speaker appeared with Akin at a press conference and attended a fundraiser luncheon.
Today, Akin launches a three-day statewide bus tour.
Akin has apologized for his remark and has waged an anti-establishment campaign, asking for donations online to fight back at GOP leaders pressuring him to leave. Today he will have raised $650,000 from that effort, Tyler said.
Other conservative PACs that are staying away from the Akin race are theTea Party group FreedomWorks and the free-enterprise-focused Club for Growth.