Airwaves heating up in Mississippi Senate race
April 7th, 2014
04:12 PM ET
7 years ago

Airwaves heating up in Mississippi Senate race

Updated 6:05 p.m. ET, 4/7/2014

(CNN) - Two leading fiscal conservative groups are going after Thad Cochran, one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election.

Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Action announced Monday they would each begin airing television ads against the Mississippi incumbent.

And Cochran's team is hitting back with an ad of their own, slamming GOP challenger Chris McDaniel for his views on government assistance programs and post-Hurricane Katrina disaster relief in the state. And Cochran is also getting assistance from an outside group as the ad wars in the Mississippi GOP Senate primary heat up.

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The Club for Growth ad criticizes the longtime Mississippi senator over votes on fiscal issues, tying the incumbent to past presidents' support for increasing taxes and the federal debt.

"1970s - Thad Cochran votes with Jimmy Carter to massively expand federal control of education. 1990s - Cochran votes for George H. W. Bush's 'read my lips' tax increase," the narrator in the ad said. "Today, Cochran votes with Obama to raise the national debt by trillions. Thad Cochran - five decades in Washington is enough."

The group said it dropped six figures on the ads, which will start airing Tuesday throughout the state.

In addition to support from Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Action, McDaniel has gained backing from a number of national and local tea party groups, as well as conservative power players like former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

"We can't keep sending liberal Republicans like Thad Cochran to Washington and expect a different result. Thad Cochran has been in Washington too long and it's time for a conservative change," said Chris Chocola, president of Club for Growth.

Senate Conservatives Action also announced Monday a new television commercial pushing Mississippi Republicans to vote for McDaniel.

But the incumbent isn't going down without a fight.

Cochran's re-election team also announced an ad that began airing Monday statewide with "substantial money behind it," according to the campaign.

The ad narrows in on McDaniel's defense of his description of Mississippi as a "welfare state" and his wavering support for post-Hurricane Katrina relief funding.

"Sounds crazy, but Chris McDaniel is backed by powerful interests that Gov. Haley Barbour calls 'out-of-state phonies," the narrator said in the ad.

Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell reiterated McDaniel's substantial outside support, suggesting the former state senator remains an obscure and risky choice for Mississippi voters.

"The choice in this race is clear: Thad Cochran has fought for Mississippi's conservative values his entire life," Russell said.

"Thad has represented Mississippi well, and he's never embarrassed us. The more we find out about Chris McDaniel, the clearer the choice becomes for voters in the June 3 election."

Mississippi Conservatives PAC, a pro-Cochran outside group, is also up with a spot that accuses McDaniel of flip-flopping on the issues.

"Chris McDaniel. He says one thing, His record, says something else," says the narrator in the ad, which has been running on TV in the state for a week. The group has spent some $600,000 to run TV and radio commercials in the primary battle since the end of January.

But as the two candidates gear up for the primary, political handicappers say Cochran, one of six GOP senators facing a primary challenger, is the most likely to get pushed out of Congress by a fellow Republican.

"McDaniel has the best chance of any anti-establishment Senate hopeful to knock off an incumbent, and the defeat of Thad Cochran would send shock waves through both the national media and the Republican Party," said Stuart Rothenberg, editor and publisher of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.

Cochran announced in December he would run for a seventh term in the Senate, about two months after McDaniel threw his hat in the ring.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Club for Growth • Mississippi • Thad Cochran
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Mississippi, where the GOP/Teatrolls just made it legal to discriminate against the LGBT community (but CNN doesn't want to talk about it).

    April 7, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Apparently the Club for Growth and the other K Street-types that are organizing the Tea Party have decided on their own who Republicans should pick for the Senate. The accusations they are flinging out are reminiscent of Stalin's Show Trials of the 30s. Its all about purity and having an easy-to-manipulate tool in the Senate, as opposed to someone who has earned the right to sit in that seat.

    April 7, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. bobo

    I think Mississippi is just sick and tired of Militant LGBT groups......

    April 7, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. guest

    hopefully the people of mississippi don't fall for this bait and switch tactic that has become the calling card of the tea party. Being a representative of the tea party means one thing, they are going to vote corporate interests in order to increase their own wealth.

    April 7, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine

    Yes, bobo, Mississippi is just over-run with Militant LGBT groups....we've all seen the footage of them, poised on the border with Louisiana, with their Mardi Gras beads and pumps, all poised to take out Mississippi and Alabama in one fell stroke.

    April 7, 2014 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Gurgyl

    Just get rid off all the Republican cult. God bless!!!

    April 7, 2014 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "I think Mississippi is just sick and tired of Militant LGBT groups......"

    Newsflash: Those parades are not gay people marching off to war. I know it's confusing for you, but please try to keep up.

    April 7, 2014 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. O'drama ya Mama

    How does one run as a Republican for 50 years, is re-elected over this time span by conservatives and is now considered a "liberal"? That only means one thing, the definition of "conservative" is becoming soooo "conservative" that a "conservative" 50 years ago is now a "liberal"

    April 7, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    It shows the state of desperation among conservatives when a repeatedly re-elected GOP Senator is labeled as a liberal.. Makes one wonder how far right both parties have gone.. ??

    April 7, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. king

    ahh it must be something in the water down their in Mississippi, that allow folks in the poorest state go back to the well time and time again. i guest they dont care if the big corporations get their money and invest in china, just dont let their neighbor over yunder get none, so they can spend it in their local economy and get jobs. these folks adopt the big boy mentality of money, the only problem is, they dont have the money part. come on folks money need to be spent here for folks to buy your crops, go to your stores, create new roads and infrastructures, you just cannot allow the repubs to fool you guys all your lives, that the best thing to do is give the big boys more tax cuts, and expect them to come invest in your part of the woods. wake up folks.

    April 7, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Silence DoGood

    I think Mississippi is just sick and tired of Militant LGBT groups......
    Fortunately, Mississippi is a part of a country with Liberty for all. There were people there sick and tired of black people drinking out of the same water fountain. But that is too damn bad.

    April 7, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |