Momentum is building around the campaign of Tea Party backed state senator Chris McDaniel in his challenge to incumbent Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) in the June 3 Mississippi Republican U.S. Senate primary.
A recent poll by Tea Party Express show the two in a close race, with a significant number of voters still undecided, a bad sign for the incumbent. Historically, undecided voters in most elections swing to the challenger. A Rasmussen Reports poll released on Monday did not provide results of a head-to-head primary matchup between Cochran and McDaniel, but shows that both Republicans beat the likely Democratic nominee by about the same margin.
On Tuesday, political expert Stuart Rothenberg declared that Cochran is in “deep trouble” against McDaniel in the primary election.
Grant Sowell, lead coordinator of the Tupelo, Mississippi Tea Party, told Breitbart News on Wednesday that “momentum is building by the day for Chris McDaniel in Mississippi. There is evidence of it even by Cochran’s supporters who earlier were mocking McDaniel’s chances and are now conceding Cochran may be vulnerable in today’s climate.”
It does not help Cochran’s chances for re-election that national and local Tea Party groups have united behind McDaniel’s challenge to him. The Club for Growth, The Tea Party Patriots Citizen Fund, Senate Conservative Fund, FreedomWorks, Tea Party Express, and the Madison Project have all endorsed McDaniel. In addition, virtually all of the local Mississippi Tea Party groups have also endorsed him.
Last month, Sarah Palin added her star power to the McDaniel campaign with her vigorous endorsement of him.
Unlike fellow septuagenarian and establishment Republican Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who revels in the exercise of bare knuckled political power, the 76 year old Cochran has demonstrated rusty electoral skills throughout the 2014 campaign.
In February, for instance, Cochran told a local Mississippi television station “[t]he Tea Party is something I don’t really know a lot about.” It was a huge mistake, one that did not sit well with activists in the pervasive and powerful Tea Party movement, which has been a force in Mississippi as well as the rest of the country for more than five years.
Politically, Cochran has a reputation for being soft, propped up by an extensive Haley Barbour-Trent Lott Mississippi power elite and his record of bringing federal pork home to the Magnolia State.
The Tupelo Tea Party’s Sowell told Breitbart News “McDaniel signs are everywhere and there is no sight of Cochran’s signs.” Sowell noted that “social media is covered with McDaniel supporters while Thad’s only supporters seem to be other moderate incumbent politicians who seem to be a little nervous these days.”
But Sowell cautioned his fellow Tea Party activists in Mississippi not to let up. “We still have a major fight ahead offsetting the GOP establishment that wants to continue its top down style of failed big government practices,” he said.
McDaniel will be a featured speaker this Saturday at the FreedomWorks hosted FreePAC Kentucky” event in Louisville, Kentucky, which is billed as a national gathering for grassroots activists.