Incumbent Thad Cochran wins runoff against tea party challenger - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Sen. Thad Cochran wins runoff against tea party challenger

Cochran campaigned with a promise to leverage his senate seniority to get federal help for the state. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file) Cochran campaigned with a promise to leverage his senate seniority to get federal help for the state. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
Tea party challenger Chris McDaniel (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file) Tea party challenger Chris McDaniel (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5 file)
(WMC) - Associated Press has called the heated and controversial race for Miss. Republican Senator a win for six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, who faced conservative tea party challenger Chris McDaniel in the runoff election. 

"This is your victory," Cochran told his supporters Tuesday. "What we have tonight is reflected as a consensus for more and better jobs for Mississippi workers, a military force and the capacity to defend the security interest of the United States of America."

Cochran campaigned with a promise to leverage his senate seniority to get federal help for the state. The 76-year-old senator advocates for policies that will broaden the state's agriculture and economic development, among other issues.

The contest to win Mississippi's Republican nomination for the U.S. senate seat caught national attention not only because of the runoff but because it gave the tea party a shot at the seat. According to Associated Press, the race was arguably the year's last good chance for the tea party wing to topple an establishment favorite in a Senate primary.

In addition, so-called attack ads hit the airwaves between Cochran and McDaniel after a photo scandal involving the incumbent senator's wife, who suffers from dementia.

During the last few days leading up to the race, Cochran fired a staffer for damaging and stealing McDaniel's election signs.

When Cochran and McDaniel both failed to gain 50 percent of the votes during the primary, the race—described by some as the nastiest campaign of 2014—continued for another three weeks. The DeSoto GOP chair said it appeared more voters turned out for the runoff, where Cochran only had a tight lead over McDaniel with 51 percent of votes.

"We fought, we had a dream, and the dream is still with us," said McDaniel after his loss. "There was nothing dangerous or extreme about wanting to balance a budget."

McDaniel largely campaigned about health care and tax code reform, among other issues. As state senator, McDaniel fought for private property rights and introduced the Firearms Freedom Protection Act over his seven years in office.

Cochran will face Democrat Travis Childers in the November election.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.    

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