So there are a few GOP primary battles that look highly entertaining. You have guys like Mitch McConnell (R. KY), John Cornyn (R. TX), Mike Enzi (R. WY), Lindsey Graham (R. SC) and Lamar Alexander (R. TN) are all fighting off Tea Party challengers. But another Republican Senator also has a Tea Party problem:
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. - Roll Call, 10/17/13
And the Club for Growth is already putting out ads in support of McDaniel's candidacy:
The conservative Club for Growth on Monday launched a new ad campaign in support of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) primary challenger – the latest in a quickly launched campaign against the longtime senator.
The Club and another conservative group, the Senate Conservatives Fund, both endorsed state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the race last week.
The Club’s new ad pitches McDaniel as a “Constitutional conservative with backbone” who has “stood up to the big spenders in both parties.” - Washington Post, 10/21/13
I can see why right-wing groups love McDaniel. But here's something that could either help or hurt his chances:
Chris McDaniel is taking the "GOP Civil War" to a new level. Two months ago, the tea party-backed Mississippi Senate candidate addressed a neo-Confederate conference and costume ball hosted by a group that promotes the work of present-day secessionists and contends the wrong side won the "war of southern independence." Other speakers at the event included a historian who believes Lincoln was a Marxist and Ryan Walters, a PhD candidate who worked on McDaniel's first political campaign and wrote recently that the "controversy" over President Barack Obama's birth certificate "hasn't really been solved."
McDaniel, a state senator, is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in next summer's GOP Senate primary. After announcing his run last week, McDaniel quickly picked up endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a prominent backer of the tea party. Both groups are key players in the internal GOP battle between establishment-minded Republicans and tea party insurgents and are backing right-wing challenges to incumbent Republicans whom they deem insufficiently conservative. Cochran, who is finishing out his 35th year in the Senate and has not said if he will seek re-election, earned the ire of tea partiers by voting to re-open the federal government and avert defaulting on the debt. McDaniel, whose campaign bus features an image of Article I of the Constitution, has promised to make Cochran's debt ceiling vote a centerpiece of his campaign.
With their endorsements of McDaniel, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth have shown just how far they are willing to go in terms of embracing the far right to prosecute their war for the soul of the party. In August, McDaniel addressed a neo-Confederate conference in Laurel, Miss., near his hometown of Ellisville. A local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the Jones County Rosin Heels, hosted the two-day event, which the group described in invitations as a "Southern Heritage Conference" for "politically incorrect folks." Attendees were advised to dress in "Confederate uniforms and antebellum ball gowns or wee kilties." McDaniel's appearance at the Rosin Heels heritage conference was not a one-off occurrence; weeks earlier he was the keynote speaker at a separate event in Jackson. - Mother Jones, 10/23/13
Now I don't want to diss any of my Southern Kossacks here but lets face it, being pro-Confederacy could be helpful in a state like Mississippi. However, African Americans make up about 37% of the population in Mississippi. We still don't know if Cochran will retire or if McDaniel even has a shot at beating him in the primary but this race is worth keeping you're eye on.