The Republican Establishment and Thad Cochran chose to have a completely unnecessary intraparty fight in Mississippi.
Prior to (Chris) McDaniel declaring his candidacy against (Roger) Wicker, there were reports that Sen. (Thad) Cochran would retire due to health issues. This brought up the possibility of avoiding intraparty fighting in Mississippi. The idea was that McDaniel would not run for Wicker’s seat and instead run for Cochran’s open seat. This would leave Wicker likely unchallenged and a nearly sure chance that McDaniel would win Cochran’s seat in a special election.
Things didn’t go quite as planned. Cochran did not retire before the March 1 qualifying deadline which led McDaniel to declare against Wicker. Instead of Cochran retiring when he began facing health problems months ago, it appears that in consultation with the establishment, he intentionally waited until after the qualifying deadline to announce his retirement. In fact, Cochran announced his retirement on March 5 and effective April 1.
This forced McDaniel to declare against Wicker instead of giving him an opportunity to run for Cochran’s open seat and threw as big of a kink as possible in McDaniel’s plan.
If true, this was completely unnecessary and appears to be more dirty politics from the Washington elite. Don’t get me wrong, Sen. Cochran has served Mississippi for decades in the U.S. Senate, and I have much respect for his office but the tactics he used in 2014 and the shenanigans he pulled recently were completely unnecessary.
Despite this likely trickery on behalf of Cochran’s office, McDaniel has wisely withdrawn from his challenge of Sen. Wicker and is instead running for the seat of outgoing Sen. Cochran. Of course some Republicans in Mississippi appear not to want McDaniel to run for any Congressional seat. I can’t seem to grasp the staunch opposition to McDaniel amongst some Republicans in Mississippi. The only thing I can guess is there are either hard feelings from 2014 or some think he’s too conservative.
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