By Bob Bakken, Desoto Times Tribune, May 17, 2014
OLIVE BRANCH – Don’t expect incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and his primary opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel to meet at the debate podium prior to the June 3 primary election.
During a stop in Olive Branch Thursday evening, McDaniel continued to call for Cochran to defend his record in a public setting, something McDaniel said Cochran has not done.
“If he has a record that he thinks he can defend, he needs to defend it in front of the people of Mississippi,” McDaniel said. “The reason he won’t debate is because his record is a record of liberalism. He cannot defend his record of 42 years and that’s why he won’t debate.”
McDaniel, who is challenging Cochran’s attempt to win another six-year term in office he first won in 1978, was rebuffed in his claims earlier Thursday in Jackson, when Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell said McDaniel’s comments were a sign of a “desperate campaign.”
Cochran has been earlier quoted as saying he doesn’t see the need to debate because McDaniel is distorting his record, in his opinion.
The Ellisville state senator said his camp has tried to get the incumbent senator to talk issues face-to-face, but with no success.
“We’ve asked him, we’ve requested, we’ve been kind and he’s refused all of our invitations,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel met supporters at the Yo’Sweetz location in the Camp Creek Shopping Center in Olive Branch, where he spoke about his belief that the state’s representation in Washington needs to change.
McDaniel believes DeSoto County will bring a strong showing in his favor in the primary election, even though many civic and legislative leaders in the county have voiced their support for Cochran.
“The people of this county understand that they are conservative. They likewise understand that Sen. Cochran is not a conservative,” McDaniel said. “He voted to fund Obamacare. He’s voted to increase his own pay. He’s voted to increase the debt ceiling 20 times. Sen. Cochran has betrayed the conservative cause and the people of DeSoto County understand that.”
McDaniel said his message in the final days of the primary campaign will remain that fresh voices are needed in the Nation’s Capitol.
“We’re sensing a big surge for change,” McDaniel said.
Bob Bakken is a staff writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. Contact Bob at email@example.com or call 662-429-6397, Ext. 240.