Facebook and Twitter remain abuzz with McDaniel supporters urging him to “Fight, Chris, fight.” Some suggest his tea party supporters should break away from the Republican fold and form their own “McGOP.”
McDaniel’s never-surrender attitude is clearly wearing thin among many Mississippians, even some who say they voted for him. He might have torpedoed his own political future by making himself look like a sore loser.
On the other hand, McDaniel might be strengthening his political prospects by positioning himself as an advocate for conservatives who feel ignored by the Republican establishment. And that might provide momentum for McDaniel and his allies leading into 2015, when Mississippi elects a slate of statewide officials, from governor to agriculture commissioner.
McDaniel was backed by millions of dollars from outside groups that consider Cochran insufficiently conservative. However, neither McDaniel nor any other tea party-supported challenger can reasonably expect to receive that level of out-of-state financial support for a state government election in Mississippi, where Republicans hold seven of eight statewide offices and a majority in both legislative chambers. The big spending happened in the U.S. Senate race because groups such as FreedomWorks and Club for Growth saw a chance to affect federal policy. Both backed McDaniel.