The first volleys in a Republican civil war between incumbent Senator Thad Cochran and firebrand tea party conservative State Senator Chris McDaniel were fired last fall, and as campaign season has marched on McDaniel has gained some ground in popularity. However, there is an almost $2 million deficit between receipts to the McDaniel campaign and Cochran’s. In total, Cochran has garnered $3.2 million for his campaign war chest to McDaniel’s $1.2 million. Arguably, the primary will decide the fate of Cochran’s seat. With Democratic contender Travis Childers to face either Cochran or McDaniel in the general election, it is a forgone conclusion the Republican primary victor will be the next senator.
How much is raised by each candidate is not as interesting as where the campaign funds are coming from. For Cochran, over half — $1.8 million — has been brought in from individual contributions, with the rest mainly coming in from Politcal Action Committees. The largest PAC supporters of Cochran — American Hospital Association, National Association of Realtors Congressional Fund — have put another $1.7 million in media buying on Cochran’s behalf. While McDaniel has benefitted from $4.4 million in PAC funds for media and press buys with biggest contributors being Senate Conservatives Action Fund and Senate Conservatives Action Fund.
And the Senate race is not the only contest pitting a moneyed incumbent against a well-known and well-liked contender. Two-term Republican incumbent Representative Steven Palazzo faces opposition from the man he won the Fourth Congressional District seat from in 2010 — former congressman Gene Taylor.
After some deliberation, Taylor, a longtime Democrat, entered the race as a Republican to challenge Palazzo in the party primary.
Interestingly enough, Palazzo’s 2010 bid to unseat Taylor was successful in part to outpacing Taylor on fundraising, with Palazzo besting him by more than $280,000 dollars. This go around Palazzo has widened the fundraising gap between himself and Taylor even more.
Heading into the primary, Palazzo has received $680,000 in campaign contributions to Taylor’s $251,000. A healthy does of PAC contributions — around $364,000 — has helped Palazzo’s individual fundraising of $308,000. Meanwhile, Taylor has garnered $245,000 in individual contributions to his campaign, with another