Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 6, 2016

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.

Mississippi’s economy relies heavily on federal funds — thanks in part to the state’s high poverty level. A handful of Republicans noted last month that the delegation is young and the hope is that Cochran does not leave office until the younger members earn seniority in the House and Senate.

McDaniel has mulled a bid for Congress for a few months and confirmed his interest in a September interview with CQ Roll Call.

“I think he will get his head handed to him, and that will be what he deserves,” Republican lobbyist Henry Barbour said in September of a McDaniel run. “[But] it’s a free country.”

The primary will be on June 3. The race is rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

  • Robert Yates

    Hmmmm. Mississippi is heavily dependent on Yankee dollars, due to crappy education, bad healthcare and general ignorance. What a surprise. They just welfare leaches!

  • suedixon

    with henry barbour being related to haliley what can you expect? another rino from MS saying a candidate suppported by conservatives will lose. don’t think so.

  • kernals

    after the politically disasterous government shutdown, Tea party endorsement is more liability than asset

  • gdawg11

    Demographics, loser.

  • Ryan

    We’ve got McDaniel, Joe Carr, Liz Cheney, Dan Sullivan, Larry Rhoden…at some point, these primaries are less of a battlefield and more of a Charge of the Light Brigade.

  • HongryHawg

    RINO Cochran should just go home and count his money before his corruption catches up with him. Git while the gittin’s good, traitor.

  • Steffen Schmidt

    Federal programs should be prorated so that states whose politicians are opposed to big government and who criticize the “takers” don’t get federal programs. Why should The Nation force these undesirable federal funds on those states? It’s just not fair.

  • boonhoggenbeck1

    For once I agree with Barbour. Cochran will take care of this tea bagger chump with his left hand tied behind him.

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