They both got their start at the same time, in the early 1970s. They both ran for the Senate (Cochran won; Barbour lost). They both made a name for themselves on the national political stage (Cochran in the Senate; Barbour with the Reagan White House and then the RNC). Through the years, their friendship has been both professional and personal (in spite of the time, as they both like to tell, in the 1978 Republican primary for Senator when Barbour helped manage the campaign of then state senator Charles Pickering against then congressman Thad Cochran). The history of the modern day Republican Party in the state is still relatively recent, having started in 1956, though the photograph of those two men depicted more than one giving the other an award, but a culmination of 40 years of shared political history.