Cochran Vows to Press On as Establishment Goes 'All In for Thad'
HATTIESBURG, Mississippi—Facing calls from his enemies to throw in the towel and a difficult path ahead in a three-week runoff for the GOP Senate nomination here, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) indicated he will soldier on ahead.
“To the record number of Mississippians who turned out yesterday to vote, I sincerely thank you,” Cochran said. “I've always believed Mississippi is worth fighting for, and that's what I will continue to do over these next three weeks in this runoff campaign. We had a great day yesterday, and it is one more step toward making November Mississippi's moment when we take back the U.S. Senate.”
Cochran’s spokesman Jordan Russell attacked Tea Party and conservative groups who have spent millions backing McDaniel in the primary.
“We took the best $5 million punch the Washington-based groups had to throw,” Russell said. “These out-of-state groups are trying to buy a Mississippi Senate seat, but Mississippi is not for sale. Mississippians now have three more weeks to consider their choice: Do they want Senator Thad Cochran, a good man that always puts what is best for Mississippi first, or Chris McDaniel, a trial lawyer politician that is manipulated, bought and paid for by Washington-based groups? Thad Cochran can win in November and will put Mississippi in a national leadership role with a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate.”
The Club For Growth, the conservative group that easily spent the most money in favor of McDaniel, has called on Cochran to remove himself from the race at this point since McDaniel got more votes than Cochran and the three-week runoff will extend a brutal battle even longer.
Karl Rove’s outfit American Crossroads has decided to leave Cochran on the battlefield. Rove’s group said it will not spend anything for Cochran, something Politico writes “deprives establishment Republicans of a possible avenue of financial support for Cochran.”
The Chamber of Commerce and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) are both still planning to fund and back Cochran for now.
"We are all in for Thad,” Brad Dayspring of the NRSC told NBC News.
In a follow-up email exchange with Breitbart News, Dayspring did not provide specifics about what that support—financial or otherwise—will look like.
“We supported Thad Cochran 100% last week, yesterday, do today, and will tomorrow. Nothing has changed,” Dayspring said when asked for details on what the NRSC plans to spend and do in Mississippi over the next three weeks. “Considering that the race was all but a statistical tie, many of the comments this morning are surprising. It's going to be a costly several weeks for both sides, and no doubt interested groups and supporters on both sides will be investing and helping their preferred candidate—as they should in a dead heat.”
Dayspring said the NRSC was providing Cochran expert advice.
“There are lots of different ways to use resources and manpower; [we are] developing those plans now,” Dayspring said. “We are analyzing yesterday's voter turnout to identify trends, weakness, strengths so to create the optimal conditions to fund and win the runoff.”
The Chamber of Commerce’s National Political Director Rob Engstrom tweeted that the Chamber “will stand by Senator Cochran.”
“Chris McDaniel is a personal injury lawyer,” Engstrom added in a followup tweet. “Personal injury lawyers are not conservative.”