By Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73
Today is the two-year anniversary of a truly shocking political story. On June 3, 2014, State Senator Chris McDaniel beat US Senator Thad Cochran in the Republican primary for US Senate, gaining the votes of nearly 158,000 Mississippi conservatives.
It was quite the accomplishment. No one gave him much of a chance in challenging the aged appropriator. Henry Barbour said McDaniel “will get his head handed to him, and that will be what he deserves.”
Others, like the wily Pete Perry or Y’all Politics chief prognosticator Frank Corder, said McDaniel would lose by massive margins, perhaps as bad as 80 to 20.
All of them were wrong. Dead wrong!
But consider the sheer effort put forth by Chris McDaniel: He faced a sitting US Senator who had served in Congress for more than 40 years; was one of the chief appropriators; took credit for everything that happened in the recovery from Hurricane Katrina; was considered “unbeatable” by the state’s press; and had overwhelming name recognition and access to vast amounts of money.
In fact, when McDaniel’s team first polled the race in the fall of 2013, Cochran had an 80 point lead.
Furthermore, Thad Cochran had the endorsement of – and get this – EVERY SINGLE STATEWIDE ELECTED OFFICIAL IN THE STATE and EVERY NEWSPAPER.
And he still lost.
Only the presence of Thomas Carey, and his paltry 1.5 percent showing, kept McDaniel from winning the nomination outright that night. And with shenanigans in Perry’s Hinds County, he most likely did win outright.
Yet we all know the sad outcome of the runoff three weeks later, when Cochran’s slime team hurled sick racist charges at McDaniel and paid thousands of Democrats to vote in the Republican runoff, many of them illegally so.
But it’s Chris McDaniel who still has the influence and his herculean effort this is still discussed, talked about, and debated. Insurgent candidates seek McDaniel’s endorsement and are thrilled when they get it, like Arizona’s Kelli Ward, who is trying to unseat John McCain.
Thad Cochran’s influence is nil. He’s done next to nothing since his re-election “victory” in 2014 – no efforts to reign in spending, no reform proposals, nor does anyone seek his endorsement.
Since taking his oath for a seventh term in January 2015, Cochran has cast a vote for: the Paul Ryan omnibus spending bill that gave Obama all of his spending requests; for Loretta Lynch as Attorney General; for John King, who supports Common Core, for Secretary of Education; and he was one of only a few Republicans to agree to sit down and meet with Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, who would replace stalwart conservative Antonin Scalia.
Who benefitted from the Cochran “victory” over McDaniel? The Barbours and the entire selfish, wealthy donor class of political influence peddlers, who care nothing for the lasting interests of the people.
Who lost? We the people, who only seek better government and a better country in which to raise their children.
But we can take solace in one undeniable fact: Chris McDaniel dealt Thad Cochran his only defeat in nearly half a century of public “service.” And the only reason he is still in office is because of the most despicable political trash operation in Mississippi history.