BILOXI, Mississippi–“You feel it don’t you? The momentum is growing. The people are waking up again,”state senator Chris McDaniel told a crowd of about 150 Tea Party activists here.
McDaniel was in his element at the event, part of the Tea Party Express nationwide bus tour. Hours earlier, he had picked up the endorsement of the American Conservative Union. On stage, he was flanked by Katrina Pierson, a Tea Party activist who recently lost a bid to challenge longtime Texas GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, Sirius XM Patriot radio host Mike Church, conservative media reporter Charles Johnson and Fox News’ Dr. Gina Loudon.
The Mississippi Republican has captured a wave of grassroots support in his bid against six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. But he is up against the powerful political machine of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Meanwhile, top Republicans in Washington, D.C. are growing increasingly concerned about a series of reports about controversial comments he made as a radio host in the mid-2000s.
“The consent of the governed matters and they’ve been ignoring you far too long,” McDaniel shouted on the Tea Party Express stage, with its bus in the background and the crowd cheering. “June the Third we’re going to make them listen to you one more time. Yeah it’s been an unusual few months for me watching my friends in the Republican Party come after me. But that’s okay. It’s okay. Because the party I joined when I was 13 years old is still the party that I love today. We just have to restore its conscience again. We have to fight for these beliefs again.”
Ronald Reagan, McDaniel said, “wasn’t talking about bailouts or tax increases. He was talking about liberty. He was talking about balanced budgets. He was talking about constitutionalism and traditional values that matter to Mississippians. That’s the party I joined and that’s the party we’re going to go restore one last time.”
During his remarks, radio host Church detailed how McDaniel had fought against Barbour when he was governor over eminent domain. In 2010, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, McDaniel led a push to prevent the state government from using eminent domain to take private property for non-public purposes, but Barbour vetoed the bill.
“You’re talking about a man that challenged the biggest Republican name in the state of Mississippi’s history–not in the last 10 years, but in the state of Mississippi’s history,” Church said.
“I’m here to tell you, we are winning,” Pierson said to applause from the crowd. “And we are going to continue to win thanks to support from people like you.”
McDaniel hinted at the gathering opposition from the GOP Establishment. “The powers that be are aligning themselves again against conservatives,” he said. “But we will win this race in June if you’ll fight. If you will lead the charge, I’ll follow you. If you will stand, I will follow you. Shake off apathy. Become involved again. Engage your government. Change your government. Charge its walls. You charge those walls–it will be you–you will knock them down, and all of Washington, D.C., will know. Do you understand how big this is? This isn’t about Thad Cochran. This isn’t about Chris McDaniel. This is about the people taking back control of their government.”
Earlier today, Cochran launched a new attack ad on McDaniel, saying he was “wrong on meth” because he was one of four Republicans to vote against requiring a prescription for the allergy medicine pseudoephedrine, which can be used to cook the drug. The law has been credited with drastically reducing the number of illegal meth labs in the state.