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April 19, 2014

Posts in "Miss. Senate"

April 7, 2014

Multiple Outside Groups Launch Ads in Mississippi Senate Primary (Updated)

Updated 3:10 p.m. | Two big-spending outside groups launched TV ads Monday benefiting the Republican primary opponent to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

Club for Growth Action launched a six-figure ad buy targeting Cochran’s record, as Senate Conservatives Action released a positive spot on behalf of state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

The six-term Republican is the only senator being challenged this cycle by the political action arm of the Club for Growth, which along with the Senate Conservatives Fund endorsed McDaniel in October. The Senate Conservatives Fund and its political action arm are backing two other primary challengers to GOP incumbents.

Cochran and McDaniel will face off in two months in the June 3 primary. The multiple ads aim to chip away at Cochran’s support, while also increasing McDaniel’s name I.D. Full story

April 1, 2014

Thad Cochran’s Fourth TV Ad Touts Record, Endorsements

Thad Cochrans Fourth TV Ad Touts Record, Endorsements

Cochran will seek re-election in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)

Republican Sen. Thad Cochran launched a new TV ad Tuesday touting both a conservative record and a history of “standing up for Mississippi.”

It’s the fourth ad in the past month from the six-term incumbent, who faces his toughest race in 30 years from a tea party-backed primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. This is arguably the most competitive primary any Senate Republican is facing this cycle.

The new ad, which is running statewide, attempts to undercut the attack line by McDaniel — and the conservative outside groups supporting him — that Cochran’s track record over 35 years is not conservative enough. The primary is June 3. Full story

March 7, 2014

Cochran Upbeat About Primary Fight, Not Running Scared

Cochran Upbeat About Primary Fight, Not Running Scared

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran was upbeat this week that he will prevail over his tea-party-backed Republican primary challenger when voters go to the polls in June.

“I’m very pleased. I’m enjoying getting around the state and visiting with friends and supporters,” Cochran said in a brief interview. “We’re making good progress, I think, in our campaign. We have more candidates than we’ve had in a Senate race I think since my first race for Congress in 1972 — independents, a Democrat or two and a Republican or two.”

Cochran and his supporters, including a super PAC, are making the case about the importance of the clout of the longtime GOP senator. A recent super PAC ad specifically highlighted Cochran’s work to bring federal funds to rebuild the ravaged Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, dinging challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel for his comments on the aid question.

Full story

February 28, 2014

Former Congressman Seeking Mississippi Senate Seat

Former Congressman Seeking Mississippi Senate Seat

Childers was sworn in to the House just a few years ago. (Ryan Kelly/CQ Roll Call)

Former Mississippi Rep. Travis Childers announced Friday he will run for Senate, putting a legitimate contender in place for Democrats as a potentially nasty primary plays out on the Republican side.

Childers, who won a 2008 special election to Mississippi’s 1st District and then a full term later that year, gives Democrats a top recruit in a state that leans heavily Republican. The odds are against him, but the move puts pressure on Republicans as Sen. Thad Cochran faces a spirited challenge from tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Full story

Super PAC Hits McDaniel on Hurricane Katrina Relief

A super PAC boosting Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is hitting the senator’s tea party primary opponent for comments he made on Hurricane Katrina relief.

Mississippi Conservatives, an independent-expenditure-only committee, will air a pair of television and radio ads throughout the state, criticizing state Sen. Chris McDaniel for saying that a vote on Hurricane Katrina relief would not be “an easy vote to cast.”

“After Hurricane Katrina, Senator Cochran fought for us, pushing emergency relief funding through Congress. But when trial lawyer Chris McDaniel was asked how he would have voted on Katrina relief, his response was, ‘I don’t know,’” a narrator says in the 30-second television spot.

“Chris McDaniel. We just can’t count on him,” the ad says.

Full story

December 26, 2013

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Mississippi Senate

Most Fascinating Races of 2014: Mississippi Senate

Cochran faces his toughest re-election battle in 30 years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The race for Senate in Mississippi boasts nearly every facet of the national GOP divide in a state already struggling with its sense of conservatism.

Six-term Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., announced earlier this month that he would seek re-election, setting up a primary against a tea-party-backed challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Influential national conservative groups — Senate Conservatives Fund, the Club for Growth and the Madison Project — had already backed McDaniel.

But Cochran remains beloved by a certain class of Mississippi operatives who plan to put up a fierce fight to save him. GOP lobbyist Henry Barbour encapsulated that sentiment in September, when he warned McDaniel not to run. Full story

December 17, 2013

Cochran Hires Campaign Manager for Tough Re-Election

Cochran Hires Campaign Manager for Tough Re Election

Cochran will seek re-election in 2014. (Douglas Graham/CQ-Roll Call File Photo)

After an endorsement from the biggest names in Mississippi Republican politics, Sen. Thad Cochran has chosen Kirk Sims as campaign manager for his competitive re-election next year.

Sims, currently Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant’s chief of staff, will lead Cochran’s bid for a seventh term, the Cochran campaign announced Tuesday.

According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Cochran received phone calls endorsing Sims from Sen. Roger Wicker (who is also Sims’ father-in-law), former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Sen. Trent Lott. Full story

December 9, 2013

McConnell, NRSC to Help Cochran Fundraise

McConnell, NRSC to Help Cochran Fundraise

Cochran will seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With Sen. Thad Cochran’s decision last week to seek re-election, the six-term incumbent must now begin hiring a political team and getting serious about fundraising.

After avoiding a significant challenge for 30 years, the Mississippi Republican hasn’t needed a robust political operation. Now facing an outside-group-backed primary opponent in state Sen. Chris McDaniel, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., are assisting Cochran’s campaign kickoff.

“We are working closely with Senator Cochran in putting together his team and developing a plan,” NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring said. “There’s a fundraiser this week headlined by Mitch McConnell at the NRSC.” Full story

December 6, 2013

Cochran Faces Toughest Test in 30 Years

Cochran Faces Toughest Test in 30 Years

Cochran will seek another term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In one of the last red-state bastions of appreciation for appropriations, Sen. Thad Cochran’s decision to seek re-election sets up a unique test for hard-line conservative groups that have targeted incumbents over the past few cycles.

The six-term Republican and veteran appropriator is beloved in Mississippi for his efforts to direct federal funding to a state in need — especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — so labeling him the “king of pork” won’t necessarily be a winning argument, even in a low-turnout Republican primary.

“If you can’t identify a Bridge to Nowhere, which I think they’re going to be hard-pressed to do, then you better come with something better than that,” said Hayes Dent, a Mississippi-based lobbyist. Full story

Club for Growth Stands With Cochran Challenger

The Club for Growth reiterated its support for state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s GOP bid for Senate in Mississippi, hours after longtime Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., announced he will seek a seventh term.

“Senator Cochran … is a strong supporter of wasteful earmarks — something that is opposed by Republican leaders in both the Senate and the House. Mississippi voters will make the final judgment as to whether it is time for a change,” Club for Growth President and former Rep. Chris Chocola, R-Ind., said in a release. Full story

November 26, 2013

Another Republican Eyes Cochran Seat in Mississippi

Updated 12:09 p.m. | Mississippi Republicans are preparing for a Senate without Thad Cochran.

State Auditor Stacey E. Pickering told “The Gallo Show,” a statewide radio program, on Tuesday morning that if Cochran opts for retirement, he will run for Senate. Full story

November 12, 2013

Cochran to Reveal Future Plans by End of the Month

Cochran to Reveal Future Plans by End of the Month

Cochran will announce a decision by the end of the month about his political future. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., will decide whether he will seek re-election by the end of the month, according to a local news station.

Cochran, 73, has publicly waffled about whether he will run for another term. The senator’s low fundraising hauls only fueled speculation the six-term Mississippi Republican is eyeing retirement.

Full story

October 22, 2013

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

The 7 Republican Senators Most Vulnerable to a Primary

Enzi is vulnerable to a primary challenge in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hard-line conservatives are rising out of the ashes of a weekslong government shutdown, emboldened by the possibility of adding to their ranks in the Senate next year — whether by picking up Democrat-held seats or taking out Republican incumbents.

Just two Republican senators have lost in primaries in the last two election cycles, but that’s not stopping a growing number of intraparty challengers this cycle. Conservative third-party groups and candidates hope to give more backup to folks like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, who led an effort to defund the health care law.

The GOP brand overall may have taken a significant hit this month and caused at least some concern within the party about obtaining or keeping the majority in either chamber in the next couple of election cycles. But the shutdown only fueled challenges to sitting Republicans.

It’s still too early to know exactly how competitive many of the challengers can be. At this point, there is a big difference in the competitiveness of the races from the top three to bottom three on this list. And as the most recent fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission illustrated, nearly all of the incumbents’ opponents are starting out in deep financial holes.

Still, with outside groups such as the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund beginning to engage, a challenger’s money isn’t the only threat — and any of these races could theoretically take off.

Here are the seven Republican senators most vulnerable to a primary challenge, in order: Full story

October 21, 2013

Club for Growth Boosts Senate GOP Primary Challenger on TV

The Club for Growth will hit the Mississippi television airwaves Tuesday to boost a GOP primary challenger to Sen. Thad Cochran.

The conservative group’s ad — which comes from its political action arm — declines to mention Cochran, who has not yet announced whether he is seeking re-election. Instead, it introduces his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, to the state and sells him as “the new strong, conservative leader Mississippi needs in the U.S. Senate.”

Full story

October 17, 2013

Tea Party Candidate Challenges Thad Cochran

Tea Party Candidate Challenges Thad Cochran

Cochran is considering retirement. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced Thursday afternoon that he will challenge six-term Sen. Thad Cochran, potentially setting up a dynamic and divisive GOP primary in the Magnolia State in 2014.

McDaniel kicks off his bid with support from several national conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, Senate Conservatives Fund and the Madison Project.

The seat is safely in GOP hands, but Cochran is still mum on whether he will seek re-election. He’s said he will make a decision by the end of the year. A longtime appropriator, Cochran has leveraged his seniority to bring home funds for decades.

Full story

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