Whoever wins the June 3 Republican primary for U.S. Senate, the Grand Old Party in Mississippi has some wounds to heal and decisions to make.
It’s hard to believe a party that 20 years ago could have held its meetings of elected officials in a phone booth now has a tent so big or loose that Republican infighting has taken the place of partisan battle. Or that in a state as conservative as Mississippi, Republicans are accusing each other of closet RINO-ism and liberalism. Or that a substantial group of Mississippi Republicans is working hard for the ouster of an incumbent Mississippi Republican who’s in line to regain the Senate Appropriations chair should the GOP retake a majority.
Strange days, indeed.
And this is not just on the federal-office level. It’s worked down at least to the state legislative scene. It will likely be a factor in state elections next year.
Wait — strike that — it already is a factor for state elections next year, and it was in legislative votes and legislation proposed and passed this year. Republican incumbents are looking over their shoulders, not so much for Democratic challengers but to make sure they haven’t raised tea party ire.
In the Thad Cochran-Chris McDaniel U.S. Senate primary race, I think state Democratic leaders have just gotten big buckets of popcorn and settled in to watch as the tea party and establishment Republicans wail on each other.
Take, for instance, the Mississippi Tea Party last week calling on Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef to resign over comments, which appeared to be pretty milquetoast, about McDaniel.