Speaking to reporters at a gathering of conservative candidates hosted by FreedomWorks on Monday, McDaniel said his campaign was “watching…very carefully” whether Cochran maintains a residence in the state in a response to a question about other senators who had lapses.
But McDaniel said he had never seen Cochran in Mississippi during his seven years in the state Senate, and cited anecdotal accounts from friends and supporters on the campaign trail “who have never physically laid eyes on him.”
“That’s the reality, and that begs the question, how could one be responsive to the local people if he doesn’t know the will of the people?” he said. “We’re watching that very carefully — he’s almost never in the state.”
He later added: “There are people my age that haven’t seen him, ever. And he came to my area for the first time in 24 years just a few days ago,” he added.
McDaniel’s main rationale for running has been Cochran’s long tenure in Congress, and he’s argued that the senator is out of touch with the state — an argument that would gain legs if McDaniel were able to prove outright that Cochran is never back home in the state.
Cochran’s campaign brushed off the suggestion that he’s not in the state often enough.
“That is too absurd for a response,” said Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell.
Russell also said Cochran owns a home, where he lives when he’s in the state, in Oxford, Miss., and is a registered voter there. The senator was last in the state during the Jan. 22 recess and had 11 campaign stops over four days, according to his campaign, at which he spoke to hundreds of constituents and supporters.