Posted on | June 2, 2014 | 47 Comments
About 40 supporters showed up at 8 a.m. to greet Chris McDaniel at Chick-fil-A here in one of the final stops of the conservative challenger’s campaign before Tuesday’s Republican primary.
“If we can unseat a 42-year incumbent, it will send shock waves through this country,” McDaniel told his supporters, encouraging them to “push like you’ve never pushed before” to drive turnout. And make no mistake: Turnout will decide the fate of that “42-year incumbent,” Sen. Thad Cochran. The latest polls show the race neck-and-neck, but the most important number is that no poll shows Cochran over 45% and, as every political professional knows, incumbents under 50% usually lose.
The fact that Chris McDaniel may be on the verge of victory in Mississippi is enormously frustrating to liberal Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo, who can’t understand why the Cochran campaign couldn’t use the Weirdest Political Scandal Ever™ to sink McDaniel:
In short, Cochran’s team really should have been able to use this to bury McDaniel. And somehow they haven’t. Amazingly, McDaniel seems to have suffered little if any damage from it. The internals of the GOP poll clearly show that the reaction to the incident has been negative and that, when asked, people say it’s made them less likely to support McDaniel. But it just doesn’t seem to show through in the topline numbers.
Maybe Cochran’s time is just up. Perhaps the most telling number in the survey is “Do you support the goals and ideals of the Tea Party?” 55% say yes, 21% say no. That’s a very good number for McDaniel to work with.
Indeed, if a majority of Tuesday’s primary voters support the Tea Party, then McDaniel should win. After McDaniel’s event here at Chick-fil-A, Ali Akbar and I had a long talk with Tupelo Tea Party leader Grant Sowell. Like other McDaniel supporters, Sowell views the scandal — wherein a pro-McDaniel blogger sneaked into a nursing home to get video of Cochran’s invalid wife — as an unfortunate distraction from the real issues of the campaign. But speaking of real issues, there was (and is) a genuine scandal which the misguided bumbling blogger Clayton Kelly was trying to document, i.e.: Cochran’s relationship with his executive assistant Kay Webber.
No reporter in the mainstream media — either in Mississippi or nationally — will touch this story, although it seems to be something of an open secret that Cochran and Webber are living together in D.C., while Cochran’s wife vegetates in a nursing home. Matthew Boyle has reported that Webber accompanied Cochran on 33 foreign trips, so that we have the shameless spectacle of a married Republican senator abandoning his invalid wife and traveling the world with his reputed girlfriend.
And that, my friends, is a real scandal.
So if Josh Marshall or anyone else wonders why the Cochran campaign was unable to use the Clayton Kelly escapade to destroy McDaniel, the answer is: They couldn’t, because any serious reporting on the story would raise questions about Cochran’s rumored relationship with Webber. However, if somehow Cochran survives in Tuesday’s primary, then and only then would the mainstream media take a serious interest in that story. But I digress . . .
The real story is what Chris McDaniel said this morning to his supporters here at Chick-fil-A: “The most conservative state in the country needs the most conservative senator in the country” — and by any measure, Thad Cochran falls short of that goal.
Rejected Cochran campaign slogan: "Re-Elect Kay Webber's Boyfriend."
— Robert Stacy McCain (@rsmccain) June 2, 2014
'McDaniel’s Challenge': He hopes to keep up the energy and drive turnout on Tuesday. http://t.co/KesO8V2cWF
— National Review (@NRO) June 2, 2014
— Ali A. Akbar (@ali) June 2, 2014
— KLD (@crazygranny56) June 2, 2014
— Josh Withrow (@JGWithrow) June 2, 2014
Voters have been bombarded with a barrage of TV ads and, as usual in this kind of “nationalized” election — where big money and big media have swooped down on the state — most people are tired of the negativity and mudslinging and they’re just ready for it to be over.
Some of the naysayers in the comments on last night’s post were skeptical of McDaniel’s chances, but this election will hinge on turnout, and if Republican voters in Mississippi take their civic duty seriously, all the media spin and GOP Establishment money won’t be enough to save Thad Cochran. Pray for a McDaniel victory.
- May 26: ROAD TRIP!
- May 27: Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Will Speak at Republican Leadership Conference
- May 28: #RLC2014 Ready to Rock
- May 29: #RLC2014 Cooking With Gas!
- May 30: #RLC2014 N’Awlins, Y’all
- June 1: Craig McCulloch Is the Real Deal
- June 1: Mississippi Update: Chris McDaniel Campaign Fights GOP Establishment