STARKVILLE, Mississippi — The $12.1 million (and counting) Republican U.S. Senate primary in Mississippi is one of the more intriguing political exercises in my more than three decades of writing about politics in this state – and in no state is that concept better understood than in Alabama.
Yellowhammernews.com political writer Cliff Sims of Birmingham, Ala., summed it up as follows on June 4: “No state gains more than Alabama if Republicans take over U.S. Senate in November, regardless of how things play out in Mississippi. But you can be assured that there are a lot of economic developers around the state salivating at the possibility of a (U.S. Sen. Richard) Shelby-led Appropriations Committee.”…
…McDaniel actually has room for growth in DeSoto and other key counties despite a higher than expected turnout statewide. But Cochran also has room for growth in the vast majority of rural counties he carried and Madison County, which has a local runoff election. Cochran also has opportunity to pad his numbers in Lauderdale and Lowndes counties. The math works for either candidate to win in the second primary
…If the GOP retakes control of the U.S. Senate, Cochran will become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Republican Alabama U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby is the likely new chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, something the uber-rich on Wall Street fear.
If Cochran is defeated, Shelby is likely to become chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the panel that plays a leading role in deciding where the government spends its money. Alabama’s other Republican senator, U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, would be the likely chair of the Senate Budget Committee which greatly influences government spending levels. That would give Alabama a huge advantage in not only government spending in their state, but in private economic development as well.
So for Mississippians – political philosophies aside – the practical stakes of the GOP Senate second primary remains whether state voters choose to retain the invaluable seniority they already given Cochran to give our state powerful influence in the federal spending process or voters choose to cede that influence to our neighbors and direct economic development competitors across the state line in Alabama.