The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Can Chris McDaniel Close the Deal?

Posted on | June 2, 2014 | 47 Comments

TUPELO, Mississippi
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.

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.






  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    Boy those Establishment Republicans sure have a nasty bite when you attempt to take away their bone…

  • Funeral guy

    I wouldn’t pass judgment on a man who sought to find a little companionship when his wife is so incapacitated that she doesn’t even know who he is. UNLESS…the man holds public office and his private life is non-existent which is what he chose when he became a senator. Have your girlfriend if you must, Mr. Cochrane, (that’s between you and God.) but have her as a private citizen.

  • ThePaganTemple

    Oh, they’re trying to take it away? I thought they were just trying to keep him from burying it in the wrong hole.

  • stevethird

    I’m sure there’s 1000 or so Cochrane votes stashed in a trunk somewhere in case it’s a close one…..really.

  • K-Bob

    Naysayers in the comments? What’s this world coming to?

  • Bradoplata

    I’d be more concerned if his girlfriend was younger, but she’s of a certain age. Optics are still bad, but that doesn’t bother me as much as needing more better conservatives in the senate.

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  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    I just meant his job, not his hobby.

  • Evi L. Bloggerlady

    If that were only it…

  • bet0001970

    For all you doubters…if Texas can dump Dewhurst TWICE in a primary, then there’s hope for Mississippi. And Dewhurst was an entrenched establishment scumbag.

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  • TravisJSays

    Shacking up with K-street lobbyists while the conservative voters are in the lurch in MS is a graver issue than his companionship.
    grassroots conservatives are like the jilted wives in this relationship. You know something’s up, and then there is evidence he’s been cheating, but it’s all behind closed doors so there is denial going on and he comes around with flowers and promises every 6 years.

  • Garym

    This article is now in the headlines at Hot Air. RSM, did they make up with you finally?

  • Kafir

    Texas just dumped Ralph Hall, 91 years old and been in the House since 1980. C’mon Mississippi, you can do it!

  • crl826
  • Hillarys Damaged Brain

    Time to take out the trash!

  • ColdWarrior

    I am hopeful conservatives in MS have sufficiently organized and united locally for real political action inside the Republican Party at the precinct level to effectively GOTV in the primary for McDaniel. Here’s the cookbook: (see the last two chapters)
    Thank you.

  • Lemuel Vargas

    Ms. Tea Partiers should vote overwhelmingly for Chris McDaniel today just like what the Brits did to UKIP and Ne. to Sasse….

  • Lemuel Vargas

    And they could do it if Ms. Tea Partiers vote overwhelmingly for McDaniel just like what the Brits did to UKIP and Ne. to Sasse…

  • Occam’s Stubble

    Yep. They should also be out poll greeting. My Tea Party did that and swung several elections over the last few cycles.

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  • Cecil

    McDaniel thinks he can get ahead by smearing Cochran’s reputation. He’s got a great deal in the closet too. He thinks mamacita is good line to use to pick up Mexican women. He’s a nut job.

  • Cecil

    Why do you think McDaniel’s staffer got locked in the Hinds county courthouse in the wee hours of the morning?

  • Cecil

    And what is Cruz doing for Texas? Running all over the country giving dumb speeches promoting himself?

  • Funeral guy

    To bad we can’t build candidates to a specific list of conservative specs. Not doing stupid stuff that steps on your message would be a good place to start.