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(From L) Sentors Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) listen as Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield Foods Inc, testifies to the Senate Agriculture Committee during a hearing examining foreign purch
File this under headlines you never expected to see about Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, at least not until the past few election cycles:
Cochran Asking Blacks to Rescue Him in Republican Primary
Cochran's problem is that he's trailing tea party candidate Chris McDaniel in Tuesday's runoff for the Mississippi GOP's Senate nomination. To make up the gap, he needs to find new sources of votes, and given that more than one-third of the state's voters are African American, even a relatively small number of black voters could make a big difference, so his campaign and allied Super PAC are aggressively reaching out.

McDaniel, for his part, is trying to fuel a backlash from Republicans against Cochran's strategy:

Mr. McDaniel and groups supporting him portray Mr. Cochran’s effort as an act of desperation, but they frame their argument in partisan rather than racial terms. “The idea that he would have to reach out to liberal Democrats in an effort to save his candidacy just shows how far to the left he’s gone over the past 42 years,” said Mr. McDaniel, who has run an anti-Washington campaign fueled by Tea Party support. [...] a radio ad by the Club for Growth, a conservative group supporting Mr. McDaniel, argues that Mr. Cochran wants Democrats to “hijack the Republican runoff.”
Please read below the fold for more on this story.

The state's only Democratic congressperson, Bennie Thompson, who is also African American, hasn't endorsed Cochran's effort but isn't opposing it either:

“Our state relies very heavily on the understanding that support from Washington is essential,” Mr. Thompson said. “For a person to run counter to that support is a threat to where we are now as a state.”
If McDaniel wins, Democratic prospects will go from nonexistent to low, so the only way the state could do better than Cochran is if Cochran loses. But if Cochran's strategy works, and he hangs on to power, the irony will be that it's not just the state's African Americans who will be better off, but every Mississippian. As David Nir wrote earlier this week, it is indeed true that Cochran has delivered a tremendous amount of federal support to the state, and it's also true that the federal support has benefited everyone who lives there, so it makes no logical sense for Republicans to dump him. But ...
... since when is there anything logical about GOP politics? If Mississippi Republicans want to drown government in a bathtub filled with tea, that's their decision. Some day they may discover, deep down, that they don't like the choice, but logic has nothing to do with it.
And not only that, but if they do discover they don't like it, they will surely figure out why it's all Obama's fault. Because in the end, he's to blame for everything, right?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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