(CNN) – While some Republican incumbents with primary challengers are trying to woo conservatives, Sen. Thad Cochran says he's not too familiar with the tea party.
"The tea party is something I don't really know a lot about," the six-term senator from Mississippi told reporters. "It's a free country. We have open opportunities for people to participate in the election process."
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Club for Growth, an outside conservative group that's backing Cochran's primary challenger, was quick to push out the footage Tuesday. It turned the soundbite into a short web video.
Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who's running against Cochran, responded to the senator's comments, saying "it's a shame because the tea party is a mass movement of people that really care about this country."
Of the Republican senators facing a GOP challenger, Cochran is considered one of the most vulnerable. While Cochran has a bigger war chest, McDaniel is getting a lot of support from third party groups like Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.
Cochran's office declined to comment further on his remarks.