Miss. Democrats turn to others for help in Senate race

WASHINGTON — Mississippi Democrats are turning to party leaders from other states and national Democratic officials to drum up support for Travis Childers’ long-shot bid for a Senate seat.

“I’m on a mission,” said Rickey Cole, chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party. “United States Senate seats don’t grow on trees, and they certainly don’t grow on trees in Mississippi.”

Childers, a former congressman from Booneville, easily won the party’s nomination for the Senate race Tuesday. He will face the winner of a June 24 Republican runoff between Sen. Thad Cochran and state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Cole traveled to the Washington area Thursday for a conference of state Democratic chairmen, whom he will lobby for support. He also planned to meet with national party officials.

Political experts say it’s an uphill battle for a Democratic candidate in the conservative state. Rep. Bennie Thompson is the lone Democrat in the congressional delegation. Childers, a former member of the Blue Dog Coalition — a group of fiscally conservative House Democrats — lost to Republican Rep. Alan Nunnelee in 2010.

Cole acknowledges the challenge for Democrats, particularly against the more well-financed Republicans.

“We got to have outside support along with what we raise at home,” he said.

Cole said earlier it would take at least $3 million for the Democratic candidate to compete.