3. Mississippi Senate — June 3rd
After showing signs that he would retire, MS Sen. Thad Cochran announced that he would seek a 7th term in the Senate. He has served in the Senate for almost 40 years. Cochran first entered Congress when Richard Nixon was President. A long-time member of the Appropriations Committee, and a former Chair of the Committee, Cochran topped Citizens Against Government Waste’s list of earmarkers in 2010, seeking half a billion in earmarks for his state. As my colleague Matthew Boyle reported, at least ten taxpayer-funded buildings in Mississippi are named after Cochran.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel is challenging Cochran in the primary. McDaniel announced his candidacy even before Cochran made known his plans for seeking reelection. In the final quarter of 2013, McDaniel actually outraised Cochran, although it is expected Cochran will make up the difference as the campaign progresses. National conservative groups have lined up to support McDaniel including, most recently, Sarah Palin.
Political observer Larry Sabato has rated McDaniel as the most likely primary challenger to win this cycle. Recent polls have shown the race to be a dead heat.