Runoff election preview

June 24th is the date for Mississippi’s runoff election.  Everyone in Mississippi can vote in the runoff except those that voted in the Democrat primary on June 3rd.

Thomas Carey, the third candidate who pulled enough votes in the Primary Election to force a runoff, became the most famous unknown in Mississippi politics by forcing the mud-slinging into another 3 grueling weeks.

Sam R. Hall predicts that the runoff will go to McDaniel since he has all the energy and Cochran has no momentum.  Dean Clancy at U.S. News & World Report thinks the Tea Party Will Win One in Mississippi this primary season and provides this analysis:

Cochran’s long record of voting for things that conservatives hate, like tax hikes, Medicare expansion and the Department of Education, puts his conservative bona fides in doubt in an era when the very definition of “conservative” — or rather, of “acceptable conservative incumbent voting behavior” — is changing. Republicans have always claimed to be for individual liberty, fiscal common sense and constitutionally limited government, but the five-year-old tea party movement has tried to get GOP incumbents to actually vote that way.

To progressives, Cochran and McDaniel must look like just another pair of right-wing white Southern Christian peas in a pod, voicing the same conservative boilerplate on almost every current issue. But to those who are actually engaged in the fight, the difference boils down to the willingness to fight, to draw and hold lines in the sand. And there Cochran has nothing to offer. He has never been a fighter and won’t ever be. But McDaniel might.

Behind that divide is a still deeper one, and that is between the pro-business and pro-market wings of the GOP. As the Washington Examiner’s astute Tim Carney nicely summarizes, in Mississippi you find, “Rich libertarian investors on McDaniel’s side. Rich Republican lobbyists on Cochran’s side. People who want smaller government because they believe it’s best versus people who want flexible Republicans elected — either because it profits them, or because they’re just loyal to the GOP.” He adds, “This has been the split in the GOP since the bailouts: K Street versus the Tea Party.”

Exactly. The “tea party versus establishment” fight pits pro-business Republicans against pro-market Republicans for control of the future of the party. Will the GOP fight for smaller, constitutionally limited government, or keep going along with ever-growing, never-limited government?

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air doesn’t worry about any latent impact on the General Election in November since both McDaniel and Cochran drew 4 times as many votes each compared to all Democrat votes cast in their primary.  McDaniel established his statewide credibility and may even cause some Cochran voters who questioned McDaniel’s gravitas to switch their vote.

The bigger question is how much more cash will flow into the election that has already seen record amounts. FreedomWorks was quick to express their continued support for McDaniel:

Drew Johnson opines in The Washington Times that the NRSC is Wasting Republican capital on Cochran in Mississippi by putting more money in the race.  He writes, “Unfortunately, the NRSC doesn’t see it that way. That’s because the organization is more interested in protecting GOP incumbents — even terrible ones — than working to elect the best Republican candidates.”  He continues:

Even if [Republicans could lose the Senate race in Mississippi], and Democrats picked up the seat held by Thad Cochran, it might be a better outcome for the GOP than keeping the disappointing Mr. Cochran in office. The NRSC fails to understand that a bad Republican can actually be worse for the party — and for America — than a Democrat. When someone like Mr. Cochran votes for tax increases, hikes spending and combats efforts to limit government, they both function as an additional Democratic vote in Congress anyway and damage voters’ perceptions of the Republican brand. As a result, they cost the GOP both policy victories and elections.

For the myriad of state officials that endorsed Sen. Cochran, this is a worst-case scenario.  Is it time to mend fences or expend more political capital?  One thing is for certain:  Except for political junkies, no one expected, let alone wanted, a runoff in this race!

For more information:

Post updated June 8th, 2014

Palazzo is the most conservative Mississippi Congressman

In February, National Journal released its Ratings for the U.S. House of Representatives.  The ratings were based on economic, social, and foreign policy issues and Mississippi’s 4th District Congressman, Steven Palazzo, was rated as the most conservative from Mississippi and the 21st most conservative out of all 435 House members.  Palazzo is more conservative than 76% of the House of Representatives on Economic issues, 87% on Social issues, and 95% on Foreign Policy issues.

The following organizations offer ratings of elected officials based on their priorities (Economy, Religious Freedom, Foreign Policy, etc.) and points of view.  Many of these organizations’ websites can be searched to find ratings for previous years so that former representatives (such as Travis Childers and Gene Taylor) can be researched as well:

Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) provides an extensive listing of groups that provide Congressional ratings.  Their list can be viewed by clicking HERE.

McDaniel speaks at FreedomWorks event

State Senator Chris McDaniel said that he will stand with Mike Lee and Ted Cruz if elected to the U.S. Senate.  He unequivocally stated that he is against compromise and will reject the defeatism of the “old guard” establishment Republicans.  Siting a great battle of ideas between conservatives and progressives, he drew a line and promised to fight against those who want to change the country.

Taking hits from the Sen. Cochran campaign for leaving the state of Mississippi for a campaign stop in Kentucky, McDaniel spoke to the FreePAC crowd and emphasized that his campaign is part of a larger movement, an apparent reference to the Tea Party and the wave of conservatism that has supplanted many incumbent Republicans over the last 4 years.

FreedomWorks is often associated with the Tea Party movement and claims to represent 6 million Americans.  They stand for three common traits:  a desire for less government, lower taxes, and more economic freedom.  Perhaps FreedomWorks’ most famous board member is Steve Forbes who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1996 and 2000 on a platform of a flat tax, medical savings accounts, fixing Social Security, term limits, and a strong national defense.

For more information:

The Republican Civil War

With conservative activists backing challengers to sitting Republican Senators in Mississippi (Chris McDaniel), Kansas (Milton Wolf), and Kentucky (Matt Bevin), establishment Republicans are feeling the pressure to maintain their power.  In an interview with the New York Times, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) declared war on the more conservative members of his party stating, “I think we are going to crush [the Tea Party] everywhere.”

In Mississippi, Sen. Thad Cochran currently has little to worry about.  He is comfortable with his record and lead over Chris McDaniel heading into the state’s June 3rd Primary according to a Roll Call report.  Tea Party groups, including those that support McDaniel, have targeted incumbents like Cochran who have used earmarks and their positions within the federal government to bring pork into their states while bolstering their own footholds in government.

Conservative organizations such as FreedomWorks, the Madison Project, Club for Growth, and the Senate Conservatives Fund are collectively but unofficially known as the “Tea Party.”  Among other things, such organizations have typically supported a return to constitutionally limited government, lower taxes (if not abolition of the IRS), and reducing the size and intrusiveness of the federal government.  In 2010 and 2012 such organizations were responsible for ousting Republican Party-backed candidates to elect Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The Republican Party traditionally supports incumbents but has been criticized in recent years by its more conservative members like the Tea Party organizations for neglecting the U.S. Constitution, not fighting for limited government and lower taxes, and not aggressively opposing President Obama and Democrat Party policies.