WASHINGTON — Six-term incumbent Thad Cochran is getting a campaign finance boost from the top Senate Republican, while tea party challenger Chris McDaniel continues telling voters that Cochran is failing to fight President Barack Obama’s policies.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hosted a fundraiser that collected $825,000 for Cochran on Tuesday at the National Republican Senatorial Committee building in Washington. More than 250 people attended. Hosts paid $5,000 from a political action committee or $2,600 from individuals. Guests paid $2,000 for a PAC or $1,000 from personal checking accounts.
Cochran said yesterday at a campaign stop in Richland that he welcomes McConnell’s support.
“He’s a good friend,” Cochran said. “He’s been helpful to me. He helps us get problems solved for the state of Mississippi.”
McDaniel, a second-term state senator, said yesterday that he wonders why Cochran does not aggressively fight Obama.
“I hear he called me a few names,” McDaniel said, drawing laughter at a local Republican women’s luncheon in Laurel. “I think he called me an extremist and he called me dangerous. Why hasn’t he ever called Barack Obama either of those terms?”
McDaniel later added, “Extremism is loading more debt on our children than they can sustain. Extremism is ignoring the Constitution, focusing instead on cronyism and favoritism. We are not extremists. We are patriots.”
Cochran, a former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, spent part of Wednesday touring a Siemens plant in Richland that manufactures substation equipment for utilities. He said he is trying to remind voters of federal funding he has brought to Mississippi to support job creation, military installations, universities and agriculture projects.
“I think it’s the competition for ideas now … whether you want somebody with experience in helping support our state and its needs or someone who’s trying to tear down the federal government,” Cochran told reporters outside the plant.
McDaniel and Cochran compete in a June 24 runoff for the Republican nomination. In the November general election, the GOP nominee will face Democratic former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara, who has run unsuccessfully for more than a dozen offices over the past two decades.
The Mississippi Republican Executive Committee has until Friday to certify county-by-county results from the June 3 primary and officially set the June 24 runoff. The group met Wednesday, but did not certify the statewide race totals because about 30 of 82 county parties had not turned in their results. Party chairman Joe Nosef said he expects certification to be completed on time.