A number of people have pointed to Rep. Steven Palazzo’s defeat of Gene Taylor in 2012 as the best example of why state Sen. Chris McDaniel can win. Taylor, like Cochran, was a popular incumbent with a reputation of taking care of his constituents who fell out of favor with some because of specific votes he made.
It’s a bad example.
Taylor was an incumbent Democrat during a time when the tea party and the Republican Party were dominating the national landscape. It was that national storyline that trickled into swing districts like Taylor’s and benefited challengers like Palazzo. The national storyline, unless something significant changes, will not be the same.
If anything, the national landscape will be anti-tea party (McDaniel) and pro-establishment Republicans (Cochran). Pockets of the state will remain steadfastly loyal to the more conservative wing of the Republican Party (the Coast and parts of north Mississippi), but the same likely won’t hold true for the metro area or for rural Mississippi. The latter is Cochran’s bread and butter, by the way.