As the Mississippi legislative session closes, political eyes are watching the U.S. Senate race. Not only are Mississippians watching this race, but political observers from all over the nation. Nationally known Tea Party-backed groups are sending money and political ground troops into the state to back state Sen. Chris McDaniel as he challenges U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican primary.
History shows that what McDaniel is attempting to do hasn’t happened in Mississippi politics in our lifetimes. If McDaniel prevails Democrats think that they have an enormous opportunity to pick up the Mississippi senate seat with former U. S. Rep. Travis Childers.
What puts this race on the radar screen nationally is the fact that political gurus want to know if the Democrats can pick up a senate seat in Mississippi like they did in Indiana when a Tea Party backed candidate defeated longtime U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in the Republican primary only to lose the general election to the Democrat. The ironic twist is that citizens who really dislike liberal politics are in fact making more feasible a general election race pitting McDaniel against Travis Childers (assuming he wins the Democratic nomination against Bill Marcy) which would make the Travis Childers’ campaign like a huge funnel sucking in national Democratic political funds. Democrats will spend millions in Mississippi if a Childers vs. McDaniel race develops.
My point, James, is this, how do the Democrats expect Travis Childers, who was voted out of office in 2010 by his North Mississippi constituents, to convince these same voters that he should be our next U.S. senator?
Doc, that may have been your last point, but it wasn’t the only one.
I see how you first made the point that Chris McDaniel looks poised to claim a victory over Sen. Cochran, the likes of which we rarely see, mainly because of all the Tea Party money backing McDaniel. But then you conveniently pivoted to Travis Childers being in a position to defeat a McDaniel candidacy because of all the “evil” “liberal” money Childers will receive. A little disingenuous, don’t you think? It’s a little like the $100 bill calling the two fifties green.
And you also made the point that while Indiana Republicans could nominate a strong Tea Party candidate in the primary, its voters didn’t like that candidate in the general election. That sucking you refer to, Doc, is actually the sound of collectively gasping Mississippi voters at the thought of Chris McDaniel becoming our next United States senator. They gasp, I shudder.
And the biggest point you made, without actually saying it, is that the great, esteemed and honored statesman Sen. Thad Cochran is in grave danger of being kicked out of office by an extreme right-winger.
Now, regarding your point about Travis Childers. If Mississippi has few of what we affectionately call statesmen left, then one of them is Travis Childers.
What Childers is, is a hard-working public official who loves his state and has worked over the past 30 years to make it better. He’s honest and ethical to a fault and he doesn’t play politics, dirty or otherwise.
As far as losing his election is concerned, we need more centrist conservative-leaning officeholders like Childers who care more about principle, honor and good public policy than kowtowing to the extremes to win the next election. Mississippians, Republicans and Democrats, will vote for him for those reasons.
That’s my counter-point.
Dr. Ed Holliday is a Tupelo dentist who has written two successful books. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Rev. James Hull is an award-wining journalist and a political consultant. You may contact him at email@example.com.