Mississippi’s Thad Cochran the most likely among Senate GOP incumbents to fall to a Tea Party candidate this cycle?
Yep, according to an assessment by political writer Ben Domenech at The Federalist Cochran’s refusal to drink the tea makes him susceptible to a one-way ticket back to Mississippi.
The pork takeout stand Cochran has been running for six Senate terms may endear him to Mississippi’s establishment Republicans but the austerity loving, submerge-the-government-til-it-drowns Tea Party rank-and-file wanted more from Cochran. Even a sign that he would at least try on one of those tricorne hats so adored by the Tea Party faithful would’ve helped him.
Cochran wouldn’t. But primary opponent Christ McDaniel, a state Senator who represents Jones County and blames much of the nation’s cultural ills on rap-music, would. You can see him smiling and waving from a window seat the next time the Tea Party Express passes through your town.
Here’s Domenech’s assessment in a March 19 piece titled “The Tea Party is Over Because it Won”:
It took them two cycles, but the traditional Republican establishment took the right lessons from the Bennett and Lugar losses. Orrin Hatch spent 2011-12 voting lockstep with Mike Lee. Primary threats made Mike Enzi part of the organizing group for the defund push. Pat Roberts is doing his best to don the winger apparel. Lindsey Graham is trying like mad to re-establish his conservative credentials. Thad Cochran is the exception that proves the rule: it’s no accident that a traditional Washington appropriator who hasn’t modified his ways is the most vulnerable GOP Senator this cycle. So if establishment Republicans understand that they are vulnerable in primaries, and have to pretend to be Tea Partiers when they’re in cycle, is that a sign that the Tea Party is dead – or a sign that it’s had a significant political impact?