Analysis: No smooth road for Thad Cochran if he runs

Republican Thad Cochran has had to break a sweat once since winning one of Mississippi’s two U.S. Senate seats in 1978.

It was during his first re-election campaign in 1984, when he defeated Democratic former Gov. William Winter. Since then, Cochran has easily defeated challengers who’ve had difficulty raising money or gaining traction.

Cochran, who turns 76 in December, is expected to announce late this year whether he’ll seek a seventh six-year term in 2014. Though he’s holding nearly $804,000 campaign cash, he’s keeping his decision — if there is one yet — a closely guarded secret.

A longtime leader of the Appropriations Committee, Cochran has brought billions of dollars to Mississippi. The money has gone into military bases, universities, local schools, highways, bridges, agriculture projects, disaster recovery and a wide variety of other projects large and small.