Veteran GOP Senator Makes Final Push To Avoid Embarrassing Primary Defeat In Mississippi

“We’ve got a lot of folks coming in from out of state telling you how to vote. Ya’ll heard about that?” Bryan told the crowd of about 100. “I’m just telling you, we are conservatives here. And so I’ve got some guy from Pennsylvania coming in a couple weeks ago, maybe last week, telling Mississippians how to vote. Now, we’ll work with you any way we can. You need our help, we’re the first ones to get our jack out and change that flat … But we’re not good at being told what to do.”

The outsider card is one that Cochran supporters have mentioned repeatedly in conversations over the past few days, insisting that McDaniel’s late endorsements from national tea party figures, along with roughly $5 million in TV ads from Washington-based conservative groups attacking Cochran, will alienate some voters. They stress Cochran’s work in the Senate protecting the state’s financial interests, and that if Republicans retake the Senate, Cochran will likely chair the powerful appropriations committee.

Cochran gave brief remarks at both rallies. In Meridian, his speech was more rambling, with tributes to former lawmakers with roots in the area. Cochran said he had “learned a lot about decorum” from former congressman Gillespie “Sonny” Montgomery, who was born in Meridian and died there in 2006. “I hope that by my service in the Senate, I’ll carry on those traditions of Sonny Montgomery and [former Mississippi Republican politician] Gil Carmichael and others.” Tradition is an ideal for Cochran, and for many Mississippians. But it’s become part of what insurgent and tea party supporters of McDaniel find repugnant about the establishment GOP.

The governor acknowledged McDaniel is benefitting from anger all over the state with the federal government.

“I think it’s a general anger with the entire system in Washington. People are just frustrated with Washington, D.C.,” Bryant told HuffPost in an interview. “They’re angry about any number of issues, from international issues to the monetary system and the debt. They look at this and say, ‘Well somebody’s to blame.’ so it’s quite natural that they get angry sometimes, and frustrated.”

Huffington Post
6/2/14