By Bill Burrows, June 10, 2014
In perhaps his most aggressive comments yet as he fights for a seventh term, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran declared Tuesday that it would be “dangerous” for Mississippi to elect challenger Chris McDaniel. McDaniel, in turn, accused Cochran of spending “recklessly.”
The back-and-forth underscores the larger battle ahead of the June 24 runoff as Cochran tries to win a seventh term with the argument that Mississippi can’t afford to lose his seniority and experience, something he said brings federal money back to the state. McDaniel, who is running with national and local tea party backing, says Congress has to spend less, even as he promised this week to “fight for Mississippi.”
Cochran made the remarks at the conclusion of two campaign stops in Hattiesburg, where he visited Forrest General Hospital and the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Nursing. The senator used both facilities as examples of public programs he’s helped support over the years through his influential post on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
McDaniel, a state senator from Ellisville, has built his campaign on making Cochran the face of a free-spending federal government that has amassed more than $17.5 trillion in debt. He directly questioned Cochran’s claim that his seniority benefits Mississippi voters in a campaign stop Tuesday in Meridian.
“Seniority matters, but only if someone is willing to fight,” McDaniel told WTOK-TV. “No one can name a single fight that Senator Cochran has led against Barack Obama. The adults have to enter the room and start making tough decisions. We can’t spend recklessly. Senator Cochran has been spending recklessly for a long time and it has to stop if we’re going to save the country.”