Is this the Tea Party's Demise or the Start of GOP Armageddon?
A 36-year veteran of the Senate, Thad Cochran has been fighting for his political survival by highlighting his years of procuring largess for this poor state, bringing in the GOP establishment cavalry and working to turn out record support from black Democrats to give him an edge.
Chris McDaniel and his allies responded by dispatching operatives to monitor the trickle of voters in Democratic areas — causing deep unease among civil rights activists in a state with a long and ugly history of racial politics, and by damning the GOP establishment.
McDaniel, who had been backed by the money and manpower of the tea party movement, was hoping to channel the anti-establishment fervor of Mississippi Republican activists to defeat Cochran.
National Establishment Republicans have been watching the Mississippi race nervously, fearing McDaniel’s far-right positions and history of insensitive comments on matters of gender and race could give Democrat Travis Childers an advantage in this solidly Republican state and weigh down GOP candidates elsewhere. In the wake of Eric Cantor's loss last week, a loss in Mississippi could have signaled a wholesale attack on "regular order" Republicans.
The question now is will the Tea Party accept the loss and continue operating in a truce with the establishment or will this be war?