by Alan Lange
It’s Groundhog Day and the question is, will Chris McDaniel see his shadow and give us four more weeks of evasion on whether he will run against Roger Wicker or not?
Let’s take a look at the timeline of what he has said so far:
As early as March last year, he started to publicly call Roger Wicker out.
In September, he said he’d decide by the end of October.
In November he said he had made a decision and was “at peace” with it and would announce what his decision was in a matter of weeks.
In late December, he said he would announce whether he would challenge Wicker in January.
A couple of weeks ago, he says he was still unsure about a decision that he said two months earlier he had already made and was at peace with.
And appropriately on Groundhog Day, we are here still living the same excuses over and over again in February and still no decision – even with over a million bucks in his super PAC. The questions yet to be answered are (1) if Roger Wicker is as bad as Chris McDaniel says he is, why isn’t he in this race yet? (2) And does he believe his Facebook wall or not?
On the giving side of his PAC report, he features the Mercer family as well as U-Line founder Richard Uihlein and a contribution from Canary Wellhead Equipment, Inc. Canary is really Dan Eberthart, who was a Cruz supporter and a disciple of Steve Bannon. He was also an anti-Trumper saying in 2016, “We won’t be donating to Trump, and I don’t know any of our donor peers that would donate.”
Eberhard went on MSNBC last fall to pledge his loyalty to Steve Bannon and to praise is handiwork in Alabama.
On the expenditure side of Remember MS PAC report, there are also some familiar names. His former campaign manager, former State Senator Melanie Sojourner, has gotten paid over $10K from the PAC in late 2017. She’s most known for narrowly rescuing defeat from the jaws of victory as the campaign manager for the McDaniel 2014 campaign. It seems highly likely that if McDaniel pulls the trigger on some sort of campaign that she would somehow again be involved in it.
With over a million dollars raised by a super PAC, it would seem that McDaniel would have to run for something at some point. These billionaire mega-donors probably don’t take too kindly to being led along.
The only other conceivable political plan regarding a US Senate seat would be for McDaniel to not engage with Wicker on the hopes that somehow Thad Cochran’s seat opens up prior to 2020. That may happen or that may not.
Either way, McDaniel would then face the optics of being indefinitely perched like a political vulture. There’s no conceivable scenario that says that he’d get a gubernatorial appointment to fill an open seat, which means he’d still have to run for US Senate against an incumbent that would have the full support of Phil Bryant, or it might be even be Phil Bryant according to last night’s Washington Post article. In that article, McDaniel stated that he postponed his decision to run against Wicker “because of the multiple options” before him. “It’s a really fortunate time for me and I’m incredibly blessed to have these options,” he said.
Despite the “teeth-clenched” optimism, McDaniel now finds himself in a virtually intractable political position with the spectre of having to choose between a race against a Trump-endorsed Roger Wicker that he obviously seriously questions whether he can win versus running in an open primary potentially against Phil Bryant. That might be just enough to make his head explode.
The qualifying deadline for 2018 is March 1.