Chris McDaniel

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, a Tupelo Republican, will be well funded if he is challenged in his 2018 re-election bid.

Wicker, who is seeking his second full-term in the Senate, has $3.1 million in cash on hand through June 30, according to his campaign finance report filed recently with the Federal Election Commission.

For the current reporting period, Jan. 1-June 30, Wicker raised $1 million from various sources, ranging from national political action committees and professional groups, from fellow Mississippians and from Lee County residents. Wicker has the $3.1 million cash on hand when the funds raised during the current period are combined with funds left over from his past elections.

Of the fundraising effort, campaign spokesman Justin Brasell said, “Sen. Wicker is grateful to conservatives across Mississippi for the outpouring of support for his re-election effort. As shown by the impressive numbers in the latest campaign finance reports, Sen. Wicker enjoys strong support from Mississippi Republicans and will be well-prepared to run a great grassroots campaign in all 82 counties next year.”

Wicker, a member of the leadership for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, headed up the effort in 2016 to elect Republicans to the Senate. He was widely praised for leading the effort to ensure Republicans retained their majority, albeit narrow one, in the U.S. Senate.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, said last month he is considering a run against Wicker in 2018 or for the open seat of lieutenant governor in the 2019 state elections. Earlier this year, McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite, sent out fundraising letters, stating June 30 as a crucial deadline to contribute money, presumably to be reported on the latest federal campaign finance report.

But McDaniel did not file a campaign finance report with the FEC for the current reporting period.

McDaniel said late Monday he did not file a campaign finance report because “I am still undecided. And we don’t see a need to rush into any decision because Wicker’s liberal voting record…is already well known to most Mississippians.”

The last report McDaniel filed was for the 2014 U.S. Senate race where McDaniel, little known on the state level at that time, nearly defeated Mississippi’s senior U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, in the Republican primary.

The federal campaign report from 2014 showed McDaniel with $8,182 in cash on hand from the 2014 race, but with campaign debts of $25,100.

McDaniel filed a state campaign finance report in January for the previous year showing him with $48,807 in cash on hand. But those funds cannot be converted to a federal campaign, though, federal funds can be used in state races.

Sept. 30 is the next deadline for candidates for U.S. House and Senate seats to file a campaign finance report.

According to the Federal Election Commission, a person raising or spending more than $5,000 is considered a candidate and thus required to file a campaign finance report.