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Cochran/McDaniel Senate Primary Too Close to Call

By Paul Boger | Published 04 Jun 2014 05:30am | comments

With a lead of just a couple thousand votes, State Senator Chris McDaniel leads long-time U-S Senator Thad Cochran 49 percent to 48 percent. But with the race too close to call, both camps are gearing up for a runoff election on June 24th. MPB news was at both candidates’ election night parties and has this team report starting with MPB’s Paul Boger.

“Win Chris, Win! Win Chris, Win! Win Chris, Win!”

Supports of State Senator Chris McDaniel were feeling upbeat and optimistic during last night’s election party in Hattiesburg. As results poured in, groups huddled around TV’s waiting for the latest information, and when it became clear no winner would be announced, McDaniel took to the stage to let them know that their fight to change things in Washington was just beginning.

 “We sit here tonight leading a 42-year-incumbent, but our fight is not over.” says McDaniel. “We’ll probably know tomorrow, but one way or another I promise you this, whether it’s tomorrow or whether it’s three weeks from tonight, we will stand victorious in this race.”

 Despite the news of a possible runoff election between McDaniel and incumbent Thad Cochran, supporters remained hopeful. Jones County native Michael Speed was among the first in line to sign-up and volunteer for the runoff.

"Oh, it’s going to be a lot different.” Speed says. “We’re going to get a lot more people out. We’re going to work a lot harder. We’re going to get our people out, and win the race for Chris. “We’re going to shock the world.”

 Tea Party leaders also see the runoff as a victory. Jenny Beth Martin is one of the cofounders of the Tea Party Patriots – a national conservative super-pac. She says this proves Mississippians are tired of the way things are going in Washington.

 “We’ve got candidates who want us to have a debt free future.” says Martin. “They stand for personal freedom and economic freedom, and the voters understand that and they’ve spoken. The fact that it looks like we’re heading to a runoff against a man who has been in office for four decades is monumental. I think if it were going to work out in Cochran’s favor that would have already happened tonight.”

The race between Cochran and McDaniel has been called one of the nastiest in the country, and with the possibility of a runoff just a few weeks away the mudslinging and fighting may not be over yet.

 At the Cochran Campaign, dozens of supporters crowded into a hotel ballroom only to walk out disappointed by the lack of an outcome.

 Mississippi’s Third District Congressman, Gregg Harper spoke to the crowd after the non-victory.

 “I can tell you this, when it comes to the future of our state, Thad Cochran is the future of our state.” Harper says.

The lack of a win for Senator Thad Cochran was frustrating for Cochran supporter Che Weiner. 

“His incumbency is far better for Mississippi then having an ideologue who is not interested in building bridges and working with people, but to pursue a political ideology.” says Weiner.

Campaign spokesman Austin Barbour says they welcome a runoff even if it means several more weeks of campaigning.

“We’re excited about it.” says Barbour. “We’re glad that the voters of Mississippi have three more weeks to take a look at each of the candidates. Take a look at who is supporting each of the candidates. When you look at Senator Cochran you have the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, all conservative leaders, Gregg Harper, others, local officials.” I think there was a 50-something local officials in Rankin County. So voters get an opportunity to see what decision they want to make.”

If there is a runoff election, it will be held in three weeks. 

Jeffery Hess, MPB News




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