Suddenly high-profile Sen. McCaskill in Utah next week
Politics • Claire McCaskill to headline fundraising event in Salt Lake next week.
Published: August 22, 2012 05:22PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 11:33PM
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Associated Press file photo Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., listens on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2011. She was in Utah Tuesday for a closed-door fundraiser that attracted a healthy crowd of Democrats.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat running to keep her seat in what suddenly has become the nation’s highest profile Senate race, will be in Utah next week for a fundraiser.

The Missouri Senate race jumped into the headlines Sunday when the Republican candidate, Rep. Todd Akin, ignited a national furor by suggesting that women’s bodies have ways of stopping a pregnancy due to a “legitimate rape.”

Akin’s comments resulted in calls from leaders of his party, including the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, for Akin to drop out of the race, but he has refused.

Event organizer Blaze Wharton said the event — which will also feature Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester — had been in the works for more than a month, but the timing is extraordinary.

“It’s going to be huge. I think this will be her first event since the news hit,” said Wharton, a lobbyist and former Utah Democratic Party executive director.

“If I had tried to do this today it never would have happened, because from what I understand she’s been getting offers to speak all over the country,” he said. “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.”

Wharton said organizers booked The New Yorker restaurant in downtown Salt Lake City after the Akin news broke, so there would be enough room for the breakfast fundraiser, which costs $100 per person.

“We’re expecting a real good crowd, especially from women,” Wharton said.