GOP Senate primary in the Mississippi mud

Biloxi, Mississippi (CNN) — A conservative blogger is in jail — arrested for allegedly breaking into a Mississippi nursing home to photograph U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s ailing wife, who is suffering from dementia.

“It’s the worst,” says the narrator of a new Cochran campaign ad airing in the final stretch before the June 3 primary, not so subtly pointing the finger at his GOP Senate challenger, Chris McDaniel, trying to stir up voter disgust.

This race, one of the nastiest so far this election year, has gotten even deeper in the Mississippi mud than that.

Cochran supporters argue the reason the blogger and tea party activist took Mrs. Cochran’s picture was to feed questions about the senator and his longtime aide, Kay Webber.

Conservative outlets that back McDaniel have been all over the fact Cochran rents a basement apartment in Webber’s D.C. home, and that Webber has traveled extensively with Cochran on the taxpayer’s dime.

McDaniel’s campaign often forwards these reports to its media email list, while the Cochran campaign calls her trips with the senator part of her job and suggestions of anything untoward are sexist.

This Republican primary was supposed to be about the big struggle of ideas within the GOP: a 36-year Senate veteran being challenged by a young tea party-backed opponent who calls the senator a big-spending, out-of-touch Republican too entrenched in Washington.

Now McDaniel is fending off questions about whether his campaign was involved in trying to photograph Cochran’s sick wife.

“Our campaign had absolutely no connection to that whatsoever, and the evidence has shown that. What we’re doing right now — we’re talking about the issues,” McDaniel told CNN in an interview.

CNN
5/27/14