With the spirited Republican US Senate primary in Alabama underway, pitting Luther Strange against Roy Moore, several pundits across the country have noted the similarities between the ‘Bama race and Mississippi’s Senate battle in 2014 between Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel.
Barbour, nephew of former Governor Haley Barbour, worked for the Cochran campaign throughout the 2014 primary and has now written a piece for Politico on what advice he would give each campaign in Alabama.
(It’s interesting to note that Barbour is writing for Politico, as opposed to a national conservative site, because Politico is a leftwing organization created as a counter-weight to the Drudge Report. The executive chairman, Robert L. Allbritton, is a trustee of the LBJ presidential library and donated money to the Clinton Foundation. The publisher and editor-in-chief, John F. Harris, wrote a book on Bill Clinton and covered the Clinton White House as a reporter for the Washington Post.)
After acknowledging their loss on June 3, Barbour focused his effort on the June 24 run-off to make his case:
For all of us involved in the Cochran campaign, it took months to truly realize the mistakes we had made in the primary. During a very long meeting the night of our first-round loss, we laid the groundwork for how we would turn around the campaign over the next three weeks. We decided to focus all our energy on a few key priorities: establishing the most thorough voter-identification program in the history of Mississippi; motivating the thousands of likely Cochran voters who hadn’t voted during the primary because they thought Thad would win easily; finding new voters who would vote for Thad during the runoff; having our candidate outwork his much younger opponent; doing away with polling (we knew what we had to talk about and knew we were behind on the ballot) and re-targeting the money we’d save; and lastly, pushing a targeted message that was optimistic and focused on what Thad would do for Mississippi during the next six years.
In many ways, for the next three weeks, we ran a general election campaign.
Senator McDaniel’s campaign manager, former Mississippi Senator Melanie Sojourner, gave a perfect analysis of the “Barbour Way” on her Facebook page:
And here you have it… the GOP establishment admitting they won the 2014 Republican Primary in Mississippi by treating it like a general election.
Translation… they won by targeting Democrat voters in a Republican Primary.
If you are one of the millions who wonder why we keep electing Republicans who act like Democrats its because we keep putting Republicans in office who are ELECTED by Democrats.
And this is why the Republican Party has been failing us for decades. It is no longer a party fighting for its platform, but instead one pandering to Democrats to get bad candidates re-elected.
Enough. Please, as true conservative Republicans push back and elect dedicated conservatives. I for one am sick of seeing our Party being taking advantage of by greedy insiders who are promoting themselves verses fighting for the people.
Please, Alabama … don’t be taken advantage of by GOP insiders the way Mississippi was.
In Barbour’s pseudo piece, there were notable lies but a lot of major omissions:
*No talk of all the enticements his team used to woo Democrats to vote for Thad, like food stamps and welfare. Their message was not “optimistic,” as he claims, but one of gutter trash politics.
*No mention of the onslaught of attacks on Chris McDaniel’s character that portrayed him as a racist. One campaign ad linked him to the KKK.
*No discussion of the race-baiting campaign that took place over the three week period from June 3 to June 24. Radio ads and crude flyers frightened people in the black community.
*No allusion to the illegal PACs that popped up suddenly to fund the trashy ads that appeared on radio just days before the vote. The Barbours tried to keep their hands clean in this ugly affair by funneling money to various political action committees of dubious legality.
*No remarks on the thousands of illegal votes found by McDaniel’s team of investigators. These questionable votes should have been thrown out.
*No statement about all the “street money” that went to supposed “volunteers” near Election Day. Tens of thousands of dollars handed out to tempt new Cochran voters.
The Cochran/Barbour campaign in June 2014 was nothing short of disgusting. If the Barbours of the party have their way, if Alabama goes the way of Mississippi 2014, and if the Establishment follows suit in other states, the complete destruction of the GOP is at hand.