The Fiscal Times: Meet Thad Cochran, An Endangered Senate Republican

Via Senator Thad Cochran is “one of the most endangered Senate Republicans up for reelection this year”

The Fiscal Times paints the stark contrast between the establishment Republican, Sen. Thad Cochran, and the Tea Party challenger, Chris McDaniel.  The following are pulled from The Fiscal Times:

There was a time when lawmakers boasted to their constituents about bringing home the bacon. . . Those times have changed, and now longtime pork-barrel specialists are more apt to have to apologize to their constituents for winning costly projects for their states than take a bow. . . The latest case in point is Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi — a powerful figure on the Senate Appropriations Committee who over the decades brought literally billions of dollars of largess to his home state.

Cochran’s opponent in a June 3 primary showdown, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, hopes to follow the lead of freshman Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and go to Washington to rattle the china in Congress.

Leaving nothing to chance, Cochran has lined up endorsements from some of the biggest names in Mississippi politics — including former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott.

McDaniel has made federal spending the centerpiece of his campaign. Last October, in announcing he was challenging Cochran, he declared that the “era of big spending is over.”  In that regard, he is trying to exploit a growing fissure within the GOP between the far right’s antipathy to spending and special interest projects and the more traditional go-along-to-get-along ethos of Cochran and other more traditional congressional appropriators.

Analysts agree it will be a hard-fought primary; but more recently, some have said the race is tilting in Cochran’s favor.  The reason for that? “Mainly because Mississippi voters, even the ones who participate in a GOP primary, understand the value of Cochran’s seniority to a small poor state,” said Larry J. Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist who is tracking the race. “And Cochran’s voting record is mainly quite conservative.”

The Cochran-McDaniel campaign is shaping up to be the old guard vs. the new guard.  The Tea Party’s challenge to establishment Republicans is alive and well in Mississippi.  In the end, this election will be about whether voters put country or self-interest first.

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