Skip to comments.Thad Cochran's Allies Consider Scaling Back Their Support for the Embattled Senator
Posted on 06/04/2014 5:19:56 PM PDT by nickcarraway
After a second-place finish, his advisers huddle to find a strategy that doesn't damage Republicans' chances of winning the seat and taking the Senate.
Establishment Republicans are in a tough spot in Mississippi.
They want Thad Cochran to win the coming runoff, and could spend tons of cash to attack tea-party challenger Chris McDaniel. But they know the sitting senator is more likely to lose, and going after his opponent will only damage the party's ability to beat the Democratic candidate and take over the Senate.
It's an excruciating decision for all of Cochran's supporters, from the National Republican Senatorial Committee to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And even though they're reiterating their support, it already looks like they are ready to scale back, and that means less money and toned-down attacks.
"The Club for Growth and Senate Conservatives Fund will bankrupt themselves just to make their point. The NRSC, the chamber don't have that luxurythey're looking at a Republican majority," one pro-Cochran strategist said.
According to several Republican sources, leaders of pro-Cochran outside groups were meeting Wednesday to discuss strategy going forward after McDaniel narrowly finished in first place in the primary with 49.6 percent of the vote. Sources raised the possibility that Cochran's supporters might shift their focus to other contests now.
American Crossroads, for one, announced Wednesday afternoon that it wouldn't get involved in the contentious runoff. "We have completed our work on Senate primaries this cycle ... this is not our fight," spokesman Paul Lindsay said. Crossroads didn't air ads in the primary, but it donated $120,000 to the pro-Cochran super PAC Mississippi Conservatives, according to Henry Barbour, the nephew of former Gov. Haley Barbour, who runs the group.
Cochran faces disadvantages in the runoff that range from his lethargic campaign effort to the likelihood of a smaller, more-conservative turnout in three weeks and the prohibition on Democratic crossover voters participating in the election.
He had no campaign operation when he announced his reelection bid and was dependent on outside assistance for the race. The Mississippi Conservatives super PAC spent $1.7 million on his behalf, while the NRSC helped staff his operations. He also was boosted by ads from the chamber, which reiterated its support for Cochran in a tweet after the primary's results came in.
Over the next three weeks, the senator might refocus his message on the out-of-state interest groups backing McDaniel, Henry Barbour suggested, rather than remain engaged in personal attacks against his challenger. The primary race took an ugly turn in its final weeks after one of McDaniel's supporters broke into a nursing home to take pictures of Cochran's ailing wife, Rose, who suffers from dementia.
Indeed, another Cochran ally involved with the senator's campaign strategy said that his team won't be bringing up that scandal during the runoffa sign they realize it could badly damage McDaniel in the general election if he wins the nomination.
"The point of aggressively going after [the nursing home scandal] was to get it national attention. Now there is national attention on that, we've achieved that objective. I think it would be a fools' errand to continue use that for no other reason," the Cochran ally said.
That's a far cry from the aggressive posture coming from the outside conservative groups backing McDaniel. The antitax Club for Growth, which spent $2.5 million boosting his challenge, called on Cochran to withdraw from the race while threatening to continue hammering away at his record if he doesn't.
"He should do the honorable thing and decline to contest the runoff. Should he choose to persist, the Club for Growth PAC and conservatives throughout Mississippi will vigorously pursue this race to its conclusion, and we will look forward to the election of Senator Chris McDaniel," Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said in a statement.
If Cochran loses, he would be the first senator to lose to a primary challenger this year, and would give tea-party activists a much-needed victory after earlier setbacks against targeted incumbents. But Democrats hope that with McDaniel as the Republican nominee, former Democratic Rep. Travis Childers could make the race competitive. Childers, a Blue Dog Democrat, held a solidly Republican House seat from 2008 to 2010, proving his ability to win over conservative voters despite his Democratic affiliation.
"If you are concerned about winning this race, there is no question Thad Cochran will win. There are questions over whether Chris McDaniel can," argued Cochran strategist Stuart Stevens.
And this is where it all ends for Thad. Run for the exits, RINOs.
Will the run-off be open like the primary was?
Thad had one shot to get it right.
I sure hope not. Open primaries are the dumbest idea ever
Then they should do what all Republicans should have done
Attack the SOB in the White House, not each other
The choice is between a GOPe RINO who has been in Congress for 40 years and a TEA Party challenger.
He is toast. His twitter regarding the traitor is on bill boards. We don’t a traitor back.
And I’m sick of the continuous coverage of the nursing home story. What about the fact that Cochran is living in an aide’s “basement apartment” in DC, except the house she owns doesn’t have a damn basement.
No, one of the candidates is a rock that belongs to Haley Barbor and Obama.
Makes me glad primaries in my state aren’t till August. The more tea party wins between now and then, the better. Hopefully they’ll discourage attempting to take out tea partiers.
Travis Childers beat that turd burglar Greg Davis. Not a thing to do
This whole "scandal" appears to rest on the belief that a candidate is responsible for the actions of every one of his/her supporters. I don't know of any politician that could meet that standard.
No, only those who who voted in primary can vote in run-off.
What about all the Dems who voted for Thad?He was openly asking them to do so.Do they get to vote again too?
Looks like the RINOs know they can't win a closed primary.
We shall soon see by the tone of the ads that will run against McDaniel
if Boss Hogg and the GOP really want to take the Senate or have
they been lying to us all along. The tone of the upcoming ads will tell the tale.
Onward to the running off of Cochran.
If they voted in yesterday's Republican primary, then yes. But I doubt the Dem crossovers will show a second time for Cochran in the same numbers as the Tea Party will turn out for McDaniel.
I'm surprised how many freepers seemed disappointed by the numbers on Tuesday and expected McDaniel to win outright.
It's extremely difficult to pass a sitting Senator in your party during a primary, and McDaniel pulled it off. Even if Cochran had narrowly beaten McDaniel by a few hundred votes (which he didn't!), Cochran getting under 50% was still huge news and the momentum is now on McDaniel's side, which Cochran supporters seem to be conceding and realizing the odds are that Cochran will lose the runoff no matter what they do.
McDaniel is already ahead, and with the third Republican being eliminated, I expect the vast majority of that guy's votes will go to McDaniel since the people voting for the third guy weren't happy with the incumbent Senator. I really can't see any way Cochran wins the runoff unless ol' Miss has some kind of fully open primary system and there's no RAT primary and the MS RATS have a good reason to want Cochran back in Washington.
Funny thing about Cochran, he was a Republican in Miss long before it was "popular" to be one. But he has NEVER been a conservative. Thad, you may have set the stage, but now its time for new players to run the show.
Not true. If you are registered, you may vote in a runoff, but you may not crossover. This means that if you voted in the Democrat primary you may not vote in the Republican runoff. If you did not vote in either primary, you may vote in the runoff.
You know if Thad was up just slightly would be coming from all establishment corners for Chris to get out.
Still, I think McDaniel should tread carefully. The nursing home crap ads are venomous. He needs to counter with tact and point out how little Cochran himself seems to care about getting elected.
Do the right thing Thad.
Remember Godfather II? Someone should have Robert Duvall pay him a visit and help him fill up the Bathtub.
Be a gentleman, Thad. Give it up graciously.
According to the Cochran aide in the article, they’re not going to keep beating the nursing home stuff in the run-off. Still, I agree that you can’t trust the Cochran campaign and McDaniel needs to remain focused and hit back hard. And to be on the safe side, McDaniel needs to get the third guy who ran to endorse him in the run-off.
It’s also true that if Cochran had any dignity, he would decline the run-off election and throw his support to McDaniel, but we’re dealing with a guy who has been in Washington forever and can’t imagine not being in power.
I disagree with the Dems that they have an opening in the general election if McDaniel is the nominee. That might be true if this was a good year for the RATs like 2006, but all evidence shows that 2014 will be a big backlash against the Dems, and that makes it even worse for Democrats running in heavily GOP states like Mississippi. There are a lot of Dem voters in Miss but not enough to win a statewide race, and the independents aren’t going to vote RAT in 2014.
I honestly don’t think Cochran would pass an aptitude test. He’s not ‘all there’. As one of Mark Levin’s callers stated, this is not Thad’s race. It is Haley Barbour’s race. He wants his friend Bryant to appoint a successor to Cochran (who would no doubt fail to serve out another full term). They don’t want elections, they want stooges.
This race isn’t about Cochran, it is about Boss Hogg.
I agree! Why isn't Thad Cochran home helping his ailing wife?
Doesn't he care about her? Doesn't he want to be with her in her remaining time on earth? Or is his career more important?
Oh, I get it, he's too busy serving his State and his constituents. Yeah, that must be it. Wow, such a noble, dedicated servant of the people.
What’s the bet Roger Wicker is stocking up on Depends. 2018 may be a feeding frenzy on this guy if McDaniel wins.
Cochran has been traveling around the world with his mistress
while his wife rots in a nursing home.
Will the run-off be open like the primary was?
From the MS SOS release today...
If there is a Primary Runoff Election:
The 2014 Primary Runoff Election will be held on June 24, 2014 (Miss. Code Ann §23-15-305)
Polls are open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm.
Citizens must have been registered for the June 3, 2014 Primary Election to be eligible
to vote in the June 24, 2014 Primary Runoff Election.
If an eligible voter did not participate in the June 3rd Primary Election, the voter may
vote in either the Democratic or Republican Primary Runoff.
The State of Mississippi does
not allow crossover voting. Meaning, if a voter cast a ballot in the Democratic Primary,
he/she must cast a ballot in the Democratic Primary Runoff. If a voter cast a ballot
in the Republican Primary, he/she must cast a ballot in the Republican Primary Runoff.
(Miss. Code Ann §23-15-575)
Uniformed and Overseas ballots have been transmitted in accordance with State and Federal law.
Wicker has been trying to play both sides.
I bet one thing is for sure(besides the depends).
Other great conservative candidates in MS will NOT be afraid to take
on Wicker. And that is a good thing.
And now we know why so many Republican Party primaries open. It's to allow crypto-liberals to infiltrate the Republican Party and shift it from being actively conservative to being nothing more than a lap dog for the Democrat Party. People who say America have only one ruling political party are correct! Just listen how GOPe "Republicans" squeal whenever a conservative runs and actually gets elected. Congress (Democrats & Republicans) has become a self-serving inbred cabal of corrupt evil people.
To Cochran’s disadvantage...the prohibition on Democratic crossover voters participating in the election.
But, if they voted in the Primary yesterday, they can vote in the run-off; can’t they?
I predict that before this coming Tuesday, June 10th, Thad will drop out and there will be no run-off.
This was a stupid fight on the establishment’s behalf to begin with. Cochran wanted to retire. McDaniel would’ve easily won with a clear majority much like Ernst in Iowa had they just went along and stopped with the insanity. This is Mississippi. If anything goes wrong with this seat THEY are to blame. McDaniel isn’t too conservative for Mississippi and Democrats haven’t even come close since the 90s. Mississippi has by far the most self described conservatives bar none. I’ve worked in Jackson MS and it is conservative. Everytime you go through a drive through you receive a blessing. I’ve never heard so many “God bless yous” , “Have a blessed days” outside of church in all my life.
If the GOP establishment really wants to heal the rifts they had better stop because not only will they risk taking the Senate and widen the rift in the party but maybe that is their goal. Self id conservatives only make up 70+% of the party. They may end up finding themselves sitting in a big lonely rainbow colored tent if they don’t watch out. We don’t need them as much as they need us.
Here is a good take on it.
I agree. If the rats send a lot of money into MS for Childers, they are chasing fool’s gold and hemmoraging more resources from hagan, Pryor, landrieu and many others.
You are right. It would be absolutely stupid. Almost as bad as them trying to contest the Governor’s race in Texas running a wided eyed liberal. They have already pulled out of that and the effort to turn Texas blue is failing so horribly that it virtually has made no headway at all. They already have a horrible bloody hill to climb this Nov and they could easily lose Hagan, Pryor, and Landrieu. Mississippi is like throwing good money after bad but if they want to do it I’ll enjoy watching them.
Nothing finer than the smell of RINO flopsweat in the morning.....cept it's night....
Going to disagree with you there. His wife is not capable of leaving the nursing home. They are caring for her, and I don't think that she is "rotting" in the nursing home. I think we need to give him some leeway on this issue.
MS has open primaries, and Democrats took advantage of that to try to throw the GOP nomination to Cochran. Black Democrats overtly campaigned for Cochran, even running ads in black newspapers. http://m.chron.com/news/politics/article/Some-black-Miss-Dems-supported-GOP-s-Cochran-5528545.php If you look at the voting results for black-majority counties in the Delta, it’s clear that quite a few black Democrats voted in the GOP primary, overwhelmingly for Cochran (in particular, check out results from Leflore County; and Jackson’s Hinds County keeps shedding white population, so Cochran’s vote margin can only be explained if black Democrats crossed over). It is clear that Cochran kept McDaniel under 50% thanks to the GOTV effort from black Democrats.
And BTW, Cochran also did surprisingly well in overwhelmingly white, very culturally conservative NE MS, which at the state level is the last bastion of Yellow Dog Democrats in the state (and where a higher percentage of whites vote Democrat for prsident than anywhere else in the state). So I believe that Cochran got quite a few votes from white Democrats as well.
How can you not be disappointed, it was so close and goes to a runoff because of some scrub third candidate and rat crossover as Auh2 points out. We should have gotten the kill shot on Tuesday night.
Sports analogy, you don’t wanna go to overtime when you can win in regulation.
Still the runoff should favor McDaniel, rat crossover should be less of problem there I hope and he has the momentum.
I salute Cochran for being a Republican since before age 30 and helping grow the GOP in the state. But it’s time for him to say goodbye.
Indeed! Wonder if ole Thaddeus will get the memo .
I believe Thad Cochran will go “full Akin” on this thing. He will not pull the pin. He should of course, but won’t....
YOU ARE MY POSTING HERO for the day. Last night I was thinking that I would just love to ask Haley Babour "hey fat man
.WHO is Todd Akin now??????" (great minds you know
Lord, hear our prayers.
Right now, I'm planning to stay in town to CAMPAIGN and VOTE for Chris McDaniel.
NOT going to VOTE absentee.