The Real Story: Chris McDaniel’s Historic US Senate Campaign


In his most recent column on the establishment website Y’all Politics, Frank Corder gives his assessment of the current state of politics in Mississippi and his predictions for the general election this November and state races in 2015.

But what caught my attention, aside from his flawed analysis, has been his consistent downplaying of Senator Chris McDaniel’s historic effort to replace Thad Cochran in the United States Senate. This has been the theme, not only from Corder and the hacks at Y’all Politics, but also from the media establishment throughout the state.

Aside from Corder’s miserable attempt to provide anything that remotely resembles political analysis, for the sake of disclosure let us provide a few simple facts that he may not want readers to know: Frank Corder is a failed politician. He is a former city council member from Pascagoula who ran for mayor and was destroyed in the process, gaining just 24 percent of the vote. I find it strange that he should give advice to anyone in politics, much less to a major success like Senator McDaniel.

Sticking to the historical Senate race we have witnessed over the past 10 months, there are several main points seemingly lost on Frank Corder, Y’all Politics, and the entire establishment press in Mississippi: Senator McDaniel’s extraordinary Republican vote totals, the historic nature of the race and the formidable opposition McDaniel faced, and the sheer threat his campaign was to the establishment in Mississippi.

The true story has yet to be told.

Left untouched by Corder, as well as other establishment journalists, are the sheer numbers involved in the campaign. Senator McDaniel gained more Republican votes in a Republican primary than anyone in state history. On primary night, June 3, he received 157,728 votes.

But three weeks later, on June 24, he did something rarely seen in primary runoffs – he increased his Republican total by an astonishing 30,000 votes, giving him a record total of 187,265. Phil Bryant had set the benchmark in 2011, when running for governor he garnered 172,300 votes against four relatively weak and unknown opponents, not against a 42-year, machine-backed, entrenched incumbent. But Senator McDaniel smashed that record by nearly 15,000 votes.

What has also been lost in all the talk of this historic Senate race is where these numbers came from, or to be more precise, where they should have come from – the Republican base.

Contrary to what might be popular belief, a primary is not an election. Nobody is elected to anything in a primary, even if there is no opposition in the fall. Primaries are administered by the parties, rather than by the state. It is a party process by which the party members select their candidate to run in the general election in November, a populist system that replaced the old smoke-filled rooms of yesteryear.

According to a source with the campaign, it is estimated that in the June 24 runoff Cochran benefited from more than 40,000 Democrat crossover voters, many who supported him out of pure fear driven by the establishment’s racist scare tactics. And of that number, there were thousands who cast an illegal ballot because they had previously voted in their own party’s primary. Looking at the raw numbers, McDaniel likely bested Cochran by more than 30,000 votes among Republican voters. That’s not just a win; that’s domination.

Showing his true establishment colors, Corder trashes much of McDaniel’s base of support, the Tea Party conservatives, without seeming to do so by attacking the movement’s “leaders” rather than their “noteworthy” message of smaller government. The Tea Party comprised a large chunk of McDaniel’s vote totals, no doubt, although it was by no means all of it, as most reporters would have you believe. Based on his vote totals, McDaniel was able to bring more people into the GOP and expand the party’s base.

But in an almost surreal accusation, Corder levels blame for an alliance with Democrats … by the Tea Party! Two different times in his piece, he accuses tea partiers of “flirting with the other side” and “joining hands with Democrats” in order to sink Cochran in his race against Childers, all in the name of retaliation for beating McDaniel.

Note to Frank: Remove the log from your own eye before picking at the splinter in ours! It was the Cochran campaign, backed by the Barbour machine, which aligned itself with Democrats in order to win the Republican primary. It was Senator McDaniel who traveled the state and expanded his Republican base, while Cochran abandoned his to cavort with the other side.

Simply put, what Chris McDaniel was able to accomplish is nothing short of historic. Even though he was by no means an average state senator, who would have believed, aside from those who know him best, that he could have taken on the indomitable Thad Cochran, as well as the entire Mississippi establishment machine backed by Haley Barbour, and win. And, even more momentous, if not downright miraculous, he prevailed not once but twice.

Unbeknownst to many, in the state of Mississippi there is now but one political machine, a vast Republican network created and supported by Haley Barbour, the Boss Tweed of our time. To get elected in Mississippi, one must pay homage to the machine, and many state pols have done so, whether begrudgingly or not, in order to gain power without being destroyed both personally and professionally.

When Senator McDaniel decided to throw his hat into the ring and run against Cochran, in the hopes of helping to bring much needed change to the state and the country, he knew he would be battling that very machine, not aligning with it. Yet there was no conservative or Tea Party network to work with to counter the establishment. There was no major financial support system, no list of donors, no organization with which to mount a ground game, no vendors who would openly support the cause, tied as many of them were to the Barbour’s enormous business interests.

Senator McDaniel sought to build a vast statewide network to counter the establishment so conservatives could free themselves of the machine. But to do so, he had to start from scratch, and he did it in spectacular fashion. Unlike Cochran, he traveled the state exhaustingly and organized in every county, and in many cases, he created entire county leadership teams with which to mount a get-out-the-vote effort. Before long, a virtual army of thousands of volunteers joined the cause.

With no money to speak of when his campaign began last October, the death knell of many a well fought battle, McDaniel raised well more than two million dollars from more than 50,000 individual contributions from ordinary citizens and received the backing of many influential national conservative organizations, such as FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth, groups that rarely, if ever, support a candidate right out of the chute. But for Chris McDaniel they did, and did so enthusiastically.

So successful was the McDaniel team that it quite literally scared the ever-living daylights out of the establishment in Mississippi, if not the national Republican Party itself. The veil could soon be ripped off the Barbour’s carefully concealed operation – a lifetime’s work to enrich themselves on the already broken backs of the taxpayers.

When a campaign organization began to take shape that could seriously threaten this money-stealing machine, Senator McDaniel was no longer the insignificant state senator from Jones County; he was now seen as nothing short of an enemy of the state, a mortal threat to the machine’s very existence.

The establishment effort then transformed from a campaign of “Ignore McDaniel” to one of “Stop McDaniel.” And strike back they did with a vengeance. He could not be allowed to succeed, no matter the costs or the lives that must be ruined.

And their cohorts in the press, as well as their vast network of trolls in the social media world, were all too willing to carry their share of the burden. Throughout the spring and early summer, Senator McDaniel was accused of being a racist, a bigot, uncaring, insensitive, an adulterer, a liar, a two-faced trial lawyer, and a political flip-flopper, to name but a few.

Most troubling of all, he was accused of being a criminal, with many of the accusations coming from the mouths of criminals themselves. The media, and most especially Y’all Politics, obsessed for weeks on stories like the so-called “nursing home break-in,” an unfortunate incident that may or may not have constituted a crime, carried out by those who had no real connection to McDaniel or his campaign, but not in the eyes of Mississippi’s media and their endless stories.

Yet these self-important journalists remained virtually silent as Cochran’s cronies leveled a systematic race-baiting campaign against Senator McDaniel and his base of conservative supporters that included accusations of criminal activity. To date there have been serious allegations of vote-buying, illegal PACs, and other violations of law and campaign regulations, yet instead of any serious reporting from the press, all we heard were the ever-present chirping of crickets. As they say, silence is complicity.

Rarely in the history of Republican Party politics, in Mississippi if not the nation as a whole, has a candidate faced off against the entire network of elected officials, everyone from the governor and the state congressional delegation to many local officials, most of whom not only endorsed Cochran but appeared in ads for him and gave speeches around the state on his behalf.

It has long been an unwritten rule that in contested primaries in the GOP, the leadership, both elected and unelected, remained neutral. Conservative officeholders with Tea Party backing, like Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, held true to this rule. But not in Mississippi, where McDaniel faced a blitzkrieg from the entire Mississippi machine – the politicians, their dirty operatives, their money, and their media cronies.

But despite this overwhelming onslaught, which would have broken a lesser man, Chris McDaniel prevailed, only to have it swiped from him by a corrupt machine that would make even the Daley’s of Chicago envious.

To the rank-and-file conservative Republican voters, though, Chris McDaniel is a hero. Like a battered and bruised Rocky Balboa in the 15th round against Apollo Creed, Senator McDaniel stood tall against the establishment assault, took the flaming darts, and is still standing, all while imploring the machine to bring it on. And that is why they hate him so. That is the truth and should tell you all you need to know about this race, a campaign for the ages.



  1. Stupendous! If I could give you five stars, I would. Sincere thanks for what you have written, how you have written it, and that you have written it.

    • W. R. Shoemake says:

      I do hope he will run in the general election as an independent. If not, I will either not vote or vote for the democrat! I believe Cochran is more democrat than republican, makes me sick just to think of him.

      • Unfortunately he can’t run as an independent because the filing deadline has already past.

      • Ray Shoemake says:

        To bad Chris can’t run as an independent in the general election. Looks like the democrat will pick up a few republican votes! It’s really bad when one party is as corrupt as the other. I am fed up with saying one thing and doing another.

    • stuart johnson says:

      After all that criss-crossing the state you still fairly lost. The republicans have used the same open primary rules in the past as did Cochran. You lost. Get over it. Move on. Quit your impish whining.

  2. GStaples says:

    Great post and very to the point…To use some of my favorite author’s language Chris was and is the sum of all their fears..

  3. Hobert King says:

    Even with more than 5 million in out-of-state money, Chris lost. Time to support Cochran.

    • So support someone who calls us racists, bigots, and accuses us of wanting to take everyone’s benefits away from them immediately, putting them on the street? NO WAY!!

    • Hobert King, I will sit this one out before I vote for Haley’s man.

    • There is a big, big difference between lost and stolen.

    • Craig Driver says:

      I will never vote for Thad Cochran in a million years. If you had any respect for Mississippi State Law which was broken when Democrats who had voted in their own primary were allowed to vote in the Republican runoff, you wouldn’t vote for Cochran either. I will write in Chris McDaniel this November if this illegal runoff is not overturned.

    • @ Hobert: It’s people like you who continue to vote for lies, corruption and unethical tactics that has led to the destruction of America. Thanks a lot for providing my grandchildren with a very bleak future.

    • Sorry Cochran would have gotten my support if he has’nt used such despicable means. he has gotten my last vote and anybody i find out that supports him. I hope Childers kicks his ass at least we know what he is about,

    • I voted for Chris twice. I’m not willing to say that this election was definitively stolen, but they damn sure used the sleaziest tactics imaginable to race bait, fear monger and smear and slander Chris and all conservatives. If I were to vote for Cochran in November, I would in essence be saying that what they did was okay. And it wasn’t. So I’m going to punish them by voting for Childers. I hope you all do the same. These jerks need to be taught a lesson.

  4. Chris McDaniel really does like wasting taxpayer money doesn’t he. That money could help the people in Mississippi that are struggling to put food on the table. But of course, his future and happiness trumps the very people that he is suppose to represent. This is a frivolous attempt at getting to D.C. And he should be ashamed. Congress needs a better representative than a sleazy lawyer stealing constituent money to get ahead.

    • Perhaps if we weren’t drowning in debt and had a working economy where people could get good paying jobs, then they could put their own food on their own table. Just a thought!

      • What is your point? That there are many Mississippians who struggle or the fact that you total gloss over the fact that Chris McDaniel is a sore loser who is willing to continue wasting taxpayer money trying to take an election he clearly lost. Or is it the fact that instead of doing his job at the State capital, he would rather hold a press conference claimin he won by 25k votes. Just as a side note, ironically that is about the same amount of cross over votes that he didn’t get? Obviously you feel your readers are either totally lost in politics or just plain uninformed. You are trying to make this issue a clear cut case of “He Was Robbed”. When in reality it is the people of Mississippi who was robbed by Chris McDaniel. He doesn’t have the money to fight this so he fundraises to sue? The people of Mississippi shouldn’t be paying for his mess.

      • Brian, you keep talking about the taxpayer’s money. As you know, that phrase refers to… taxation. Like, the money that is spent in DC, every time Thad Cochran votes.

        What you are actually talking about is donations from citizens. Winning a modern campaign for the Senate (after the 17th amendment changed the rules) necessarily requires millions of bucks. McDaniel got donations from all over. Cochran got even more millions, also from all over, albeit usually different names on the cheques. That money is not “taxpayer money” and you know it. That money is campaign-donations from concerned citizens, who know that if the wrong person is sent to DC, real actual taxpayer dollars will be at stake for the next six years.

        Folks donating to McDaniel want to reduce the amount of taxpayer-dollars that are spent. Folks donating to Cochran don’t care about how much is spent, as long as a big chunk of it comes to them.

        Anyways, now that we’ve cleared that up, I’ll also point out your other MAJOR mistake. (No time for all the minor goofs sorry.) The mess here, the illegal-double-voters, and the illegal-absentee-ballots, and all the allegations of vote-buying, are not in any way McDaniel’s mess … that mess is squarely on the shoulders of team Cochran, as you also know full well. McDaniel is getting the election-materials reviewed, and when necessary suing in court to have the review-process done properly, because McDaniel is trying to CLEAN UP THE MESS of corruption and unethical tactics and nasty dirty politics. If you want to blame anybody for how much winning a Senate seat actually costs, or blame anybody for how much cleaning up corruption costs, McDaniel is the last person on your list… unless you don’t *want* the corruption cleaned, that is.

    • What tax payer money was wasted? If you can read the PDF document with all the fraudulent votes, errors, obvious careless handling of the ballots, the ballot boxes, and believe Cochran is the winner than please, allow me to offer you some tickets to the forthcoming submarine races.

      • Interesting that you have this information when a judge denied Mr. McDaniel’s request to view the poll books. And do you seriously think that thecDaniel donations are being used by the state of Mississippi answering these absurd allegations?

    • Do you really think that this is because of Chris McDaniel? NO! Do you really believe that any tax dollars being used to clean up the political mess here would go to feed the poor otherwise? Give me a break! Stop drinking the Cool-Aid!

  5. Richard herberger says:

    Very long winded and totally fantasy based! It’s not historic if McDaniel lost, and he most definitely lost. You can whine incessantly about crossover votes and continue throwing out ubsubstantiated accusations of voter fraud but it’s not going to change anything! The race is over, McDaniel lost and it’s time to move on.

  6. When he gets to be a US senator then I will agree that it is historic.

  7. It is already historic. But it will become epic when he gets to be a US senator.

    This article did a great job of once again discrediting Corder. Of course Corder does that himself every time he writes a hit piece. He’s a talentless hack.

  8. Surely the author’s name is incorrect? This sounds like a Chuck Johnson/GotNews article.

  9. Corruption thy name is Barbour. He couldn’t get elected dog catcher today but Barbour has managed to smear the good name of Cochran, bribe, steal and buy the election away from the actual winner of the Republican primary run-off and in the end, divide all MS Republicans! All to protect the money-machine the establishment has created to suck the tax payers dry. But what we want to know is who did Cochran voters vote for….Barbour, Tate Reeves, Greg Harper? Thad, you have done a lot of good for our state but you have allowed yourself to be the puppet as it is painfully obvious the Barbour boys have the establishment by the short hairs and are the true puppet masters. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. So true and so obvious.

  10. The person behind the race baiting attacks (Ms Harris) said she never met Haley or Henry Barbour. That she and 5 of her female friends bought the ads because Chris McDaniel said he couldn’t stoop low enough to solicit “Democrat” (i.e Black votes). Ms. Harris said he made her angry and she bought the ads. Chris McDaniel is the worse “crybaby” “liar” I’ve ever seen in politics. If he can’t win…he’ll take the entire Republican Party down with him. He has accused everyone for his loss…The establishment Republicans, The Secretary of State, The Precinct captains, The Barbours, Thad Cochran, National Republicans, Poll workers. He has blamed everyone but himself. Just because he says there are thousands of irregularities… does NOT mean there are.

    • She doesn’t have to meet them to get funded by them. The connections have already been made. As for the irregularities, he’s submitted the evidence!

    • Lotus, the lady who admitted to funding the advert which said McDaniel was a KKK supporter, may or may not be clean of DC and Barbour cash. (She claims to have never met Henry/Austin/Haley … but does not claim the same about her four friends, nor about the funding, that I have seen). Henry Barbour also denied being involved with race-baiting adverts, at first, until he was caught… now he is doubling down, and saying the adverts were true, that the tea party really DOES want to keep minorities from voting. Not true, but the truth or falsity of a statement doesn’t count for much with Henry, methinks. Look for the article by Quin Hillyer, which also has a correction from a few days later (Henry pointing out that he was directly caught being associated with SOME of the adverts … not ALL of them).

      More important is this: if her adverts were the *only* ones, her confession would be significantly meaningful. However, her adverts are only a FEW of the many attacks that went out. Hers were some of the worst (with the KKK smear), but plenty of other adverts also went out: some said McDaniel was a racist (flyers yet to be traced), many many more just implied he was a racist. Multiple different types (robocalls/radiospots/flyers) said that the tea party was racist, or intended to keep minorities from voting, or similar. Almost all of them hinted at the same subtext, saying that only the tea party “disrespects” President Obama (by disagreeing with him on policy!), and only the tea party would “roll back race relations by 50 years”. McDaniel lawyers have posted 243 pages of stuff at which is worth reading, or at least, skimming. You can also get the audio to robocalls and radiospots, plus pictures of flyers, and the doc-trail which shows who funded what, on the internet.

      But whatever you do, don’t think that the role played by 65-year-old Ruth Harris was the end of it. Look up the roles of Scooby Doo Warren, Ronnie Crudup, Arthur Siggers, Mitzi Bickers, Greg Bland, Amanda Shook, the NRSC, and 90% of sitting senators who donated big bucks to team Cochran (SCF has the list… you can also find the few who did NOT donate which I would say is more crucial). Searching for those names, will lead you to other names. Not everything you read on the internet is true, of course, but not everything you read in the newspapers — like the implication that Ruth Harris confessed so the story is over — is the whole truth and nothing but the truth, either.

    • Craig Driver says:

      Loyus Mullens, Just because you say there weren’t irregularities doesn’t mean there weren’t.

  11. Whine, Snivel and Cry – McDaniels new law firm.

  12. Charley Jones says:

    I did not see a byline on your blog, who are you?

  13. Bobert Davis says:

    The Cochran Clowns are out in force today! Cochran will never get my vote. And I personally think any of you morons who would still vote for that cheat are 100 percent what’s wrong with our country. No wonder MS is the most corrupt state in the nation because fools like you want to turn a blind eye to the corruption. Not me. NO MORE THAD! I’m either voting for Chris or Travis. I will not support Haley’s stolen winner. Never. And good luck getting all those crossover Democrats back for Thad in November.

  14. Brian Perry sure has a lot of time on his hand to make all the false accounts. I’m guessing Henry, Haley, Austin, Corder and of course that briandead moron Jordan Russell. You tell which ones are his because they’re dumber than the rest.

  15. Dannye Smith says:

    I will not vote for Thad, though I have in all past elections, but it is time for change. No one should remain in Cogress over 2~3 terms at most. Then, when you follow his voting patterns over the last 10 years, you will note that he voes against something, then for it when he knows it wont pass. Time for real change and no more of the good old boy politecs of Jim Eastland and others.


  16. Isabel Matos says:

    Reblogged this on A Time For Choosing and commented:
    Chris McDaniel deserves a clean victory. There should be no write-in, no other election, or no third party solution.. McDaniel won this race fair and square. and should be the nominee. Let’s pray he prevails. He has the evidence. He has the fight in him. And he has the Truth on his side. What more can we ask? There is no gray area here. It’s black and white. I don’t think in this case Cochran has a LEG to stand on. What the GOPe did was not only unfair it was illegal. Cochran and the GOPe have exposed themselves. They will have to answer for their deeds: heads will have to roll. and arrests made if need be. This is one victory they will have no moral or political authority over. They’ve cheated before but finally got caught. It’s illegality clear as day. The race has even transcended even politics. It has an inspiring message that you never surrender if you believe that what you are doing is right.

  17. McDaniel was supported by national groups first, and their existing networks of tea-and-liberTea activists. He announced his campaign, and Club For Growth (a tea-party PAC run by Chris Cochola) immediately started spending money and helping get donations. Similarly, McDaniel was backed by FreedomWorks (Matt Kibbe) and by Senate Conservatives Fund (Jim DeMint / Ken Cuccinelli). While it is certainly true that Chris helped these groups to create the massive groundswell of support across Mississippi, and indeed, that the McDaniel campaign process either started or grew the local county activists immensely, it is wrong to portray it as if Chris McDaniel singlehandedly was responsible for this effort. McDaniel is a tea-party headliner, who fought a high-dollar campaign. He is not like Dave Brat, who is the epitome of a pure-grassroots type of tea-party candidate, outfunded ~30 to one. (There is reasonably good evidence that ~80% of the tactical-crossover dems in the Cantor/Brat primary cast their ballot for Brat, not because they agreed with Brat, but to give Cantor a black eye.)

    That he had help doing so, does not take away from the achievement, of course. But it was not really an achievement in growing the party, I would say… most of the voters who backed McDaniel in the primary, and in the runoff, were already Republican in their views, and probably voted Republican in the general election, too. McDaniel and his volunteers and the millions in PAC money, did not make those folks into Republicans … they made them into ACTIVE members of the party, who pay attention to primaries, and to MSGOP conventions (Henry Barbour and Joe Nosef are both up for re-election to their SREC and RNC slots come the MSGOP convention in 2016 folks), and to the way nominees are picked. That is a massive achievement: the estab-repubs have nearly unlimited money, but money can’t buy you love, as the old song goes. McDaniel earned his votes, and his supporters.

    And before I go, it is worth noting that in the PPP poll, if you look at the approval-ratings for McDaniel and for Cochran, you can see what regular voters think about nasty tactics.

    As of mid-July, among romney-voters, Cochran is 39 approve + 53 disapprove. among self-identified-repubs, Cochran is 39 approve + 52 disapprove. Overall score: negative 13 percentage-points. No typos here.

    As of mid-July, among romney-voters, McDaniel is 53 approve + 39 disapprove. among self-identified-repubs, McDaniel is 51 approve + 39 disapprove. Overall score: positive 13 percentage-points. No typos here either.

  18. chaz reid says:

    McDaniel was a State Senator. He was Chairman of the Elections Committee. If he had a problem with Mississippi election laws allowing open primary voting, then he should have tried to change the law instead of having one of the worst voting records in the State Senate for missing votes. He lost in part because he scared Senator Cochran’s supporters and the rest of Mississippi voters with his extreme statements. He woke up lazy voters that did not vote on June 3rd.

    • Once again, we are not talking about the existing process or anything that necessarily needs to be changed. We are talking about stuff that happened in the runoff THAT WAS ALREADY AGAINST THE LAW! Also, he did not have one of the worst voting records in the Senate. We already debunked that lie. Most concerning to me at least, aside from buying votes and running illegal PACs, was the horrid race-baiting campaign engineered by the Barbours. That has no place in our politics. They couldn’t wage a campaign of ideas and honest debates on the issues, so they used that tactic. Despicable!


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