McDaniel will vie for Cochran’s seat in 2014



By Emily Wagster Pettus

Associated Press

ELLISVILLE – Second-term state Sen. Chris McDaniel said Thursday that he’s running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, a decision that likely pits him against longtime incumbent Thad Cochran in the Republican primary.

Cochran turns 76 in December and is expected to announce late this year whether he’ll seek re-election to the Senate seat he first won in 1978. He has been raising money. Records filed this week show Cochran has $803,907 in campaign cash on hand.

McDaniel, 41, announced his intentions during a speech on the courthouse lawn in his hometown of Ellisville. McDaniel mentioned Cochran briefly during his 20-minute speech.

“I respect him. I grew up admiring him,” McDaniel said as 300 to 400 people sat in lawn chairs or stood under Magnolia trees as he spoke.

However, McDaniel criticized Cochran for voting Wednesday night to support a deal to reopen the federal government. McDaniel said conservatives should not compromise.

“I’ve got 17 trillion reasons not to compromise,” he said referring to the amount of the federal debt.

Cochran served six years in the U.S. House before becoming the first Republican since Reconstruction to win a statewide office in Mississippi when he was elected to the Senate. He is a past chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, bringing billions of federal dollars to the state for Hurricane Katrina recovery and other projects. He’s currently the top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Cochran was born in Pontotoc and grew up in Hinds County. He now has a home in Oxford.

If Cochran seeks re-election, many Republicans and Democrats say he would be difficult to defeat. If he decides not to run, the Senate race could attract several candidates who would see an open seat as a rare opportunity to run for an influential job.

Henry Barbour of Yazoo City, a member of the Republican National Committee, agrees Cochran is formidable.

“Senator Cochran has earned Mississippi’s trust through years of conservative leadership. He’s one of the few statesmen in Washington and was critically important for Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. He’s respected by all but a handful of Mississippians. And one of them has decided to run against him,” Barbour said.

One who disagrees is retired auctioneer Henry Foreman of Diamondhead who drove up from the Gulf Coast to hear McDaniel. He thinks Cochran has been in Washington too long.

“The government is just not a lifetime job,” Foreman said.

Foreman said he has taken a leave of absence from the Hancock County Republican Executive Committee so he can support McDaniel. Committee members are not supposed to take sides in political campaigns.

Foreman also criticized Cochran for bringing so much federal money to Mississippi. He said Cochran and others cannot account for where it is going.

“Right now we don’t need to be spending money the way we are spending it,” Foreman said.

McDaniel has been closely allied with tea party supporters and is chairman of the state Senate Conservative Coalition, which had 11 members when formed in June. McDaniel said at the time that despite the state Senate being controlled by Republicans, “All Republicans may not be conservative, just as all Democrats may not be liberal.”

In his speech McDaniel he wants to restore the Constitution, which he said is being ignored, reduce federal spending and repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“The lamps of liberty are going out across the Republic. Millions of people feel like strangers in the land,” McDaniel said.

Click video to hear audio

  • jon bush

    Cochran MUST GO!! He has been representing himself and other fat cats too long its time to REPLACE EVERYONE in D.C. Everybody in DC is on the hit list. Thad and wicker just happen to be on the top of ours.

    • barney fife

      Don’t forget Nunnelee … a fine feathered GOP parrot.
      Let’s not send yet another GOP parrot to DC.

  • Raider

    “However, McDaniel criticized Cochran for voting Wednesday night to support a deal to reopen the federal government. McDaniel said conservatives should not compromise.

    “I’ve got 17 trillion reasons not to compromise,” he said referring to the amount of the federal debt.”

    So this Tea-nut would have rather the government go into default and squander the country’s reputation for paying all our bills on time. The tea-nuts do not care about the full faith and credit of the US. They only care about winning. Thank god there are still enough republicans with good sense left in congress. However, that is quickly changing.

  • Thile

    Tuesday — McDaniel says he has to go home and “pray about” deciding to run.

    Thursday — McDaniel announces decision, complete with fanfare (guys with bagpipes and stuff) and new campaign RV. Just like the good Lord intended.

    • barney fife

      Just what is needed in Washington – another GOPer whack nut. Wants to be a cardinal rather than a senator.
      Go find Phundie Phil … the both of you can share a pulpit.

  • Tony

    46% of Mississippi’s state budget comes from federal dollars. I don’t remember Sen. McDaniel, or any of the Senate Conservative Coalition, voting against the state budget because of “runaway federal spending”. Federal money that is spent on roads, bridges, buildings, schools, health care, child nutrition, elderly care, disabled care, hospitals, economic development — the list goes on and on. If Sen. McDaniel is serious about cutting federal spending, this next legislative term he should vote against every appropriations bill that accepts or spends any federal dollars. If not, he simply wants a job with a higher pay scale and better prestige than he holds now.

    • ronb39339

      46%…. WOW !!
      You do know that MS is one of the states with more people getting gov’t benefits than working? After watching the videos of the ebt pukes in Philly acting crazy & Starkville as well on this past Saturday, I’m ready for some of these folks riding the gravy train to start going hungry.

  • ronb39339

    I’ll vote for him in a heartbeat…. Get the Rino out.

    • FrereJocques

      You people are absolutely stark-raving nuts. You would destroy the country to satisfy your own personal agenda, which mostly seems to be that you hate Obama, you hate Democrats in general, and you hate poor people. Boy, what a platform. God save us from the likes of you.

  • Jack Makokov

    I’ve been perusing comment sections from other news sources regarding this story today. I don’t get these people screeching about Cochran being a “RINO.” Those same people saying this likely voted for Cochran SEVERAL times–and usually ran unopposed or against a very weak field of candidates. The man’s been in office for nearly 35 years, but now he isn’t “republican” enough for you; why the sudden change from apathy to demanding change now? Will you demand your city leaders to return the millions in appropriations the King of Pork raked in for the state? If this is a purity test, you have to go all out, folks.

  • countrydawg

    McDaniel’s announcement/speech makes for a pretty nice wingnut bingo game. He had all the latest buzzwords and phrases: “liberty,” “government spending,” and “taking our country back.” New packaging, but the same ol’ under the hood–like EA’s Madden games for the last 5+ years. And like the folks who queue up to purchase those games each year, people are buying McDaniel’s “Imma be more extreme than that other guy” rhetoric.

  • Guest Person

    After what we just went through the past 2 weeks and now this clown says he wants to just do more of the same – does he think we are stupid?

    Lets be honest here – if you can’t see that Republicans in general – for the past 20 years- have been on the wrong side of every major issue and what their polices have done to ecconomy then fine but to have 24+ billion dollars flushed out of our ecconomy from self inflicted Republican crisis and this guy has the nerve to say he will prety much go up there and do the same thing …

    Please Mississippi – wake up.

  • 1941641

    Mc Daniel vs Cochran

    …this Mc Daniel dude may get a few votes around his neighborhood but, by sporting the TP “Wacko Bird” Political Logic we are all too familiar with in Mississippi and nationwide, he is sure to be wasting his time and campaign dollars attempting to unseat Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. Mc Daniel is on a “fools errand!” Plain and simple.

    • Guest Person

      I learned a long time ago to never under estimate the power of stupid people.