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Ron Paul backs tea party challenger in Miss. race

Ron Paul has endorsed Chris McDaniel

Ron Paul has endorsed Chris McDaniel

WASHINGTON — Former presidential candidate Ron Paul on Monday added his name to the list of tea party supporters of Chris McDaniel’s effort to deny longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi a seventh term.

McDaniel and Cochran were heading toward a June 24 runoff that illustrates the split within the GOP between its anti-establishment, tea party-flavored wing and its more staid establishment base. Neither candidate captured the required 50 percent of the vote in last week’s primary.

Tea party and anti-tax groups have rushed to McDaniel’s side in an effort to block Cochran’s reelection. FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth and the Tea Party Express have sent cash and staff to Mississippi to help McDaniel.

The winner of the runoff faces former Rep. Travis Childers, a Democrat.

“Chris McDaniel has been a fighter in the Mississippi Senate for smaller government and more personal liberties,” Paul said in a statement released through the McDaniel campaign.

Paul’s son, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, has not backed a candidate in Mississippi.

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