Wicker on the Run from Potential McDaniel Challenge

Roger Wicker Assumes Four Positions On Obamacare 2.0 in Brief Media Interview

News of Chris McDaniel’s potential run for U.S. Senate in 2018 has reached the newsrooms of the Beltway’s establishment media operations in the form of the The National Journal. (You can read the article in its entirety below.)

Mississippians recognize that McDaniel, who took more votes than 45-year incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran on June 3, 2014, poses a serious threat to Haley Barbour’s fiefdom between the Mississippi River and Alabama. Even establishment Republicans who spoke with The National Journal on condition of anonymity realize this.

Perhaps that fear is what drove Sen. Wicker to assume at least four distinct positions on Obamacare 2.0 last week.

After (1) having remained silent about Paul Ryan’s Obamacare 2.0 bill, Wicker, who was asked about his silence by Breitbart reporter Matt Boyle (2) admitted to supporting the plan, even though it doesn’t repeal Obamacare.

Wicker Communications Director Ryan Taylor took a third position  on behalf of Sen. Wicker when he (3) laughably tried to blame Obamacare 2.0 on President Trump, and stated that Obamacare 2.0 was “the president’s proposal” rather than Ryan’s bill.

The beleaguered aide assumed a fourth position on behalf of Roger Wicker when he alleged that (4) “Sen. Wicker is working with President Trump, Vice President Pence, and most Republicans” on health care reform.

Whichever of those four positions is closest to reality, one thing is clear:  Roger Wicker had better live up to his claims of conservatism with this Obamacare 2.0 vote, or he’ll have a tougher fight on his hands than he’s ever faced.

And the national news media will be watching.

Read the article originally published in The National Journal article below:

 

Mississippi Republicans Prepping for Another Senate Primary

The same challenger could be back from the ugly 2014 race that went to a runoff.

By Kimberly Railey

In a Sen­ate cycle that will be played al­most en­tirely on Demo­crat­ic turf, Mis­sis­sippi could host an in­tern­al Re­pub­lic­an war.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel is ser­i­ously con­sid­er­ing a Re­pub­lic­an primary chal­lenge to Sen. Ro­ger Wick­er in 2018, four years after nearly un­seat­ing Sen. Thad Co­chran. Even at this early point, a McDaniel bid threatens to re­ignite the GOP rift that nom­in­a­tion fight laid bare, when es­tab­lish­ment and tea-party groups fueled one of the most hard-edged midterm battles.

Sev­er­al Mis­sis­sippi Re­pub­lic­ans con­ten­ded that Wick­er would enter a race against McDaniel as the fa­vor­ite, thanks to a cam­paign already mov­ing far more quickly than Co­chran’s 2014 ef­fort. But they warned that McDaniel, armed with a base of hard-core sup­port­ers, is still a strong threat.

“It would be a ser­i­ous chal­lenge,” said one Mis­sis­sippi Re­pub­lic­an, gran­ted an­onym­ity to speak can­didly. “The guy al­most beat Thad Co­chran, who’s a be­loved states­man.”

In an in­ter­view with Na­tion­al Journ­al, McDaniel em­phas­ized that “all op­tions are on the table” for his polit­ic­al fu­ture. A de­cision on a Sen­ate bid, he said, would come by the end of the year, but he doesn’t see him­self at a dis­ad­vant­age this time giv­en his per­form­ance against Co­chran.

“I don’t think I’m the un­der­dog,” McDaniel said. “Co­chran was next in line to be Ap­pro­pri­ations Chair­man, and Co­chran was in­cred­ibly pop­u­lar in Mis­sis­sippi.”

Com­pared with Wick­er, McDaniel ad­ded, “Co­chran was a much more for­mid­able op­pon­ent.”

But Co­chran got a crip­plingly late start, wait­ing un­til Decem­ber 2013 to de­cide to run again, months after McDaniel had de­clared. Wick­er has already hired a vet­er­an cam­paign man­ager in Justin Brasell, a Mis­sis­sippi nat­ive whose résumé in­cludes races for Sens. Mitch Mc­Con­nell of Ken­tucky and Tom Cot­ton of Arkan­sas.

Wick­er is also build­ing a grass­roots cam­paign in all of the state’s 82 counties, Brasell said. At the start of the year, he had $1.6 mil­lion in his cam­paign ac­count.

“Our plan is to pre­pare for a com­pet­it­ive race no mat­ter what,” Brasell said.

One ques­tion is wheth­er McDaniel’s bid will draw out­side sup­port from con­ser­vat­ive or­gan­iz­a­tions like the Club for Growth, whose su­per PAC shelled out more than $3 mil­lion to boost him in 2014. Spokes­man Doug Sach­tleben said the group is “watch­ing the race.”

McDaniel, who said he has had no of­fi­cial meet­ing with the Club, as­ser­ted that his team is in “con­stant con­tact” with con­ser­vat­ive groups around the coun­try.

Wick­er, mean­while, is poised to have the full weight of party lead­ers be­hind him, after chair­ing the Na­tion­al Re­pub­lic­an Sen­at­ori­al Com­mit­tee in 2016 and keep­ing the Sen­ate un­der GOP con­trol. That suc­cess, Re­pub­lic­ans said, en­deared him to a wide net­work of donors, as well as con­ser­vat­ive sen­at­ors who could prove help­ful sur­rog­ates against McDaniel.

In a state­ment, NR­SC ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or Chris Hansen said the com­mit­tee “is proud to fully sup­port” Wick­er in the primary and gen­er­al elec­tion.

“In 2016, Sen­at­or Ro­ger Wick­er saved the Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate ma­jor­ity,” Hansen said. “Without his tire­less work, lib­er­al New York Sen­at­or Chuck Schu­mer would be in charge of the United States Sen­ate today.”

McDaniel, in de­clar­ing his ra­tionale for a bid, ac­cused Wick­er of not push­ing a con­ser­vat­ive enough ver­sion of health care re­form. But Wick­er al­lies said that strategy is flawed, point­ing out Pres­id­ent Trump’s back­ing of the cur­rent Re­pub­lic­an plan and Trump’s pop­ular­ity among the GOP base.

Trump en­dorsed McDaniel in 2014, tweet­ing that the state sen­at­or “wants things to change in Wash­ing­ton.”

For its part, the Wick­er team main­tains this would be an en­tirely dif­fer­ent race. Brasell said the sen­at­or is a close and trus­ted ally of the pres­id­ent.

“Sen­at­or Wick­er would ex­pect to have the strong sup­port of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Brasell said.

The polit­ic­al en­vir­on­ment was also far dif­fer­ent in 2014, when tea-party groups were look­ing for in­cum­bents to primary. Former House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor was de­feated that year, a week after the Mis­sis­sippi primary. No in­cum­bent Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or has lost a primary since 2012.

Wick­er al­lies also ar­gued that the nasty end to McDaniel’s 2014 race could have soured his stand­ing among some Mis­sis­sippi Re­pub­lic­ans. After push­ing Co­chran in­to a run­off, McDaniel re­fused to con­cede and later filed a form­al chal­lenge to the elec­tion res­ults, al­leging voter fraud and oth­er ir­reg­u­lar­it­ies.

“When you go to battle, you’re go­ing to have some wounds,” said Noel Fritsch, McDaniel’s 2014 com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or. “Wick­er hasn’t been tested yet. That’s what this is go­ing to be all about.”

Even McDaniel crit­ics con­ceded that the state sen­at­or re­mains pop­u­lar among some con­ser­vat­ives in the state. After some Re­pub­lic­ans pre­dicted that chal­len­ging Co­chran would be a ca­reer-end­ing move, McDaniel was most re­cently reelec­ted to his seat with 86 per­cent of the vote.

As he weighs a Sen­ate bid, McDaniel has also been floated for oth­er statewide po­s­i­tions, in­clud­ing gov­ernor and lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor. To run for Sen­ate, he would not have to give up his cur­rent post.

In the mean­time, Mis­sis­sippi Re­pub­lic­ans said Wick­er, who was in­stru­ment­al to help­ing Co­chran win the 2014 run­off, is not tak­ing any­thing for gran­ted.

“The biggest dif­fer­ence is that the Wick­er cam­paign will be pre­pared and the Co­chran cam­paign wasn’t,” said Bri­an Perry, who ran a pro-Co­chran su­per PAC in 2014.

“Wick­er is tak­ing it ser­i­ously,” he ad­ded.

Comments

  1. Ronnie Harris says:

    Thad Cochran? A beloved statesman?? He’s nothing but a Haley Barbour lackey. If they had not convinced enough Democrats to vote across party lines, “Old Thad” would be a former “beloved” statesman… Pffffft…

  2. Thad Cochran is a sad example of conservative and he’s only “beloved” by senile republicans who vote by rote and Democrats, who, by the way, are what assured his win in the runoff. Wicker and all the Establishment Republicans had better do some serious rethinking of their positions and start acting like true conservatives or many are going to find themselves out of a job.

  3. ……….Vetting Wickers abysmal voting record is easy and sadly not part of the overall political conversation . The Conservative rating group ; Conservative Review places Bennie Thompson at a 20% conservative voting record . He is an avowed Socialist with an agenda that does nothing to improve Mississippi’s effective use of our resources for the people of Mississippi . Our States votes by the people inserted by the MSGOP are part of the manipulated agenda of puppet master Haley Barbour .
    ……….Raw voting numbers draw a pattern of collusion and corruption of the public trust . They are as follows . CR [ Conservative Review ] Thad Cochran 21% – Roger Wicker 28% – Gregg Harper 44% – Palazzo 72% . OK 72% is an ” F ” rated Republican and 50% and below is well off the scale as a Liberal Democrat . Wicker is in Solid Socialist / Communist voting ranges .
    ……….. Let this sink in = Wicker is almost a voting partner with Bennie Thompson only 7 percentage points from being twin brothers in governance . He is 44 percentage points from matching the terrible ” F ‘ rated voting record of Palazzo !! And we have returned the people who sell off the future of Mississippi consistently to office . Come on people this is insane . We must educate ourselves and remove these ” Political Mutts ” from access to the treasures that Mississippi has had brokered to outside agents controlled by the Haley Barbour Cabal .

  4. I got such a good information on this topic it’s very interesting one. I am very satisfied after reading your posts they very nice and very useful to us. Thanks for sharing the best posts they amazing and very help us. You made a good site it’s very interesting one

  5. Roger Wicker is a good man. He did a great job of holding the Senate for the Republicans. Imagine where Trump’s nominees would be if we had not held the Senate. Roger Wicker has been an excellent Senator for MS. I am pretty sure that most MS Republicans know that and appreciate the work he had done and the esteem in which he is held by his colleagues. I am glad he has a well-filled war chest and is going to be well-prepared, but my guess is that he will not have to break any more than a light sweat to be re-elected.

    • Nancy Read says:

      Wicker AND Cochran need to be replaced with TRUE conservatives. Not any good old boys.

      • Wicker and Cochran are true conservative Mississippi Republicans..Both are good for MS. Perhaps it will be good for Sen, McDaniel or someone else to challenge Wicker, Then we will see where MS Republicans really are, and all this “RINO” talk can be put to rest. Or, perhaps, Sen. McDaniel and friends will decide not to take on Sen, Wicker and wait for Sen. Cochran’s term to end. Sen. Cochran will not run again, so the seat will be wide open for a contest among any Republicans who want to jump in. Or, perhaps, he will want to run for Governor. The problem Sen, McDaniel faces is that he will not be able to raise money in MS. He will have to have money from PACs outside the state. Are they going to put in the money they put in when he challenged Sen. Cochran? At any rate, at some point there need to be a head to head contest that will show whether Sen. McDainiel is as popular in the state of MS as readers of MCD followers think.

      • Hey Nancy: Please describe the attributes of a “true conservative”.

  6. Roger McAllister says:

    Is Gene Taylor going to run again as a “Republican”? Was Haley the one who really brought the democrats into the 2014 race? But yet Mr. McDaniel still won the initial primary? Hmmmmmmmm……………….yes Bill, I’m very much aware that Gene didn’t run for Senator. But who did his “Republican” (wink-wink) voters who voted in the “Republican” primary vote for in the SENATOR category that day? Hmmmmmmm?

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