Runoff election rundown

With Political Action Committees backing both sides, watch-out for misinformation and half-truths as advertisements and the media heat-up for the June 24th runoff election between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

With McDaniel winning more of the June 3rd vote, the establishment backing Cochran is looking for some help from Democrats who sat out the June 3rd Primary.  What seemed absurd two weeks ago may have helped Cochran’s momentum.  Even gun-control advocate Michael Bloomberg gave $250,000 to Mississippi Conservatives PAC, the primary super PAC supporting Cochran’s reelection.

The polling data only fuels the debate.  One poll shows McDaniel with a 8-point lead.  Two days later, another shows a dead heat only to be refuted by second poll the same day saying McDaniel has a 12-point lead.

One opinion says Ingalls has shrunk during Cochran’s tenure while another says Cochran must remain our senator if the next ship is going to be funded.  All the while, McDaniel is under fire for wanting to shrink the federal government.

The big winners?  Newspapers and Democrat nominee Travis Childers!

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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!

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Post updated June 8th, 2014

McDaniel defends himself to Libertarians

After decade-old audio was discovered from his radio program “The Right Side,” U.S. Senate challenger Chris McDaniel emailed the Libertarian Party of Mississippi to emphasize that his criticisms were of the candidate and not the Libertarian Party in general.

Within the lengthy email, posted below from Facebook, McDaniel articulates his record and support for Liberty.  Undoubtedly Libertarians will be important to McDaniel if he expects to upset Sen. Cochran in the June 3rd Primary.

With the media combing through numerous hours of audio, McDaniel can expect much more analysis and questioning should he win the Primary Election against Sen. Thad Cochran.

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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.