Scandal threatens GOP prospects in Miss.

A scandal sideshow could threaten the GOP’s hold on Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) Senate seat no matter who makes it through Tuesday’s hard-fought Republican primary.

Both the longtime incumbent and his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, are boasting they have the momentum heading into Election Day, and multiple polls out this month have shown a tight race.

The bitter final month of the primary has focused largely on personal issues and the salacious scandal surrounding a McDaniel supporter’s alleged photographing of Cochran’s wife in her nursing room home. That threatens to leave the Republicans fractured and the eventual nominee crippled in the general election against a centrist Democrat, former Rep. Travis Childers.

“We’ve had nasty and personal primaries before, but we haven’t had incidents like we had in this apparent conspiracy,” said Mississippi Republican Party Executive Director Joe Nosef.

“To be honest, I think party unity’s gonna be just as much a concern either way the election comes out, for sure.”…

…Kevin Broughton, spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots, which is backing McDaniel, lauded the primary contest itself, regardless of the eventual winner, as a seismic event for Mississippi politics.

“I think the landscape of the Republican Party in Mississippi, no matter the winner on Tuesday, has been altered significantly,” he said.

The Hill
6/1/14