Tea Party Targets GOP Veteran in Mississippi Senate Race

Collectively, their anger at McDaniel—and the groups supporting him—is palpable.

“It’s Republican money being spent to beat a Republican,” said Haley Barbour, reached by phone while he was vacationing with his grandchildren. “It’s unlike anything we have ever seen in Mississippi.”

They’re also sounding the alarm about McDaniel, warning that he could be too conservative for a state that hasn’t been Republican for all that many years. National Democrats helped convince former Rep. Travis Childers to jump in as speculation about McDaniel’s possible success mounted.

“The Democrat who is running is a one-term congressman. He is no more going to beat Cochran short of an assassination,” Haley Barbour said. “But there are enough Republicans in Mississippi who could be offended by, ‘I don’t know if I would have voted for the disaster relief after Hurricane Katrina.'”

“There’s a significant group of people who recognize that the chance of losing this seat is a Murdock-Akin situation,” Barbour said, referencing two Tea Party conservative candidates who beat Republican incumbents in 2012 only to lose to Democrats in the general election.

In a year when Republicans need every seat in their quest to win six and take back the Senate, it could make all the difference.