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.

Unbelievable! Thad and Kay Shopping for Jewelry Two Days After Wife’s Funeral

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In an astounding piece in the New Albany on-line news magazine, it was reported that Senator Thad Cochran and Kay Webber were shopping for jewelry on December 18, 2014.  Aside from all the rumors that ran rampant during the Senate race last year of an illicit affair between Thad and Kay, this photograph was very telling.  Mrs. Rose Cochran passed away in December 12, 2014 and was buried on December 16 in New Albany.  Did Kay attend the funeral? [Read more…]

Conservative Review: Thad Cochran: GOP Establishment Poster Boy Marries Aide

By Steve Deace, Conservative Review, May 26, 2015

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.

On second thought, a column itemizing the legitimate reasons conservatives have for loathing the GOP Establishment would be longer than War and Peace. So why go through all that hassle when a picture – or in this case a snapshot of one southern liberal Republican – says a thousand words.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran. [Read more…]

Hey Y’all Politics, Here’s Your #MSSEN Stroll Down Memory Lane:

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Campaign 2014 Rewind: From the Archives of Rush Limbaugh – Reverse Operation Chaos

Republican Establishment Took Part in Reprehensible Reverse Operation Chaos, The Rush Limbaugh Show, June 25, 2014

RUSH:  Mississippi. The Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel runoff election.  It was Operation Chaos in reverse.  The Republican establishment sought victory via Democrat voters in the runoff, and they got them.  It has been analyzed and it is now practically ontologically certain that without the African-American vote from Democrat-leaning counties, Thad Cochran would have lost by eight or nine percent last night. [Read more…]

Thornton: Why I can’t pull the lever for Cochran

By Mark Thornton, Laurel Leader Call, October 31, 2014

It’s no secret that I supported Chris McDaniel for Senate. And it’s also no secret that I thought he should concede after the run-off, with his credibility intact, and live to fight another day.

He had exposed the despicable tactics of the state’s Republican Establishment, and conservatives were ticked off. They were ready to follow him wherever he wanted to take them. He could’ve won any office he wanted.

One day, he’ll still be able to, but it will take a little image-repair work. The same machine that took a win-at-all-costs approach to beat back his bid to unseat six-term U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran have successfully sullied his reputation.

They’ve painted his principled fight against the system as a fool’s errand by a selfish, egomaniacal brat. That’s a shame. But it’s part of the plan, too. By putting the focus on him and the election challenge, they’ve taken the spotlight off the real bad guys in this debacle — the power brokers of the Republican Party, who propped up Cochran, a la “Weekend at Bernie’s,” for their own bought-and-paid-for reasons. [Read more…]

Hey Mississippi Republican Party: Take this election and shove it

Jim Cegielski, Laurel Leader Call, October 27, 2014

Where is Johnny Paycheck when you need him? If there was ever a time for a song called “Take this election and shove it,” it’s now.

I’m not talking about the race for Circuit Court Judge, where we have four outstanding men running for the job, providing the electorate with four very good and highly diverse choices. If you can’t find a candidate who meets your liking between Grant Hedgepeth, Billy Joe Landrum, J. Ronald Parrish and Dal Williamson, then there is something wrong with you. Personally, I like all four gentlemen, but personality-wise and the manner in which they would handle the job couldn’t be more different.

This will be one of the very few races in which most people are going to have a tough time narrowing their choice down to just one candidate. Wouldn’t it be great if all elections were like that?

The election in which Johnny Paycheck would come into play is the United States Senate race between Thad Cochran and Travis Childers. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against Travis Childers. He stopped by our office on more than one occasion, and even though I don’t agree with him on all the issues, he seems like a genuinely nice man.

No, the reason that I would shove this election is, unlike the Circuit Court Judges’ race, where we have a plethora of good choices, the Mississippi Republican establishment has stolen our choice in the Senate race. [Read more…]