In an interview with National Journal, McDaniel emphasized that “all options are on the table” for his political future. A decision on a Senate bid, he said, would come by the end of the year, but he doesn’t see himself at a disadvantage this time given his performance against Cochran.
“I don’t think I’m the underdog,” McDaniel said. “Cochran was next in line to be Appropriations Chairman, and Cochran was incredibly popular in Mississippi.”
Compared with Wicker, McDaniel added, “Cochran was a much more formidable opponent.”
But Cochran got a cripplingly late start, waiting until December 2013 to decide to run again, months after McDaniel had declared. Wicker has already hired a veteran campaign manager in Justin Brasell, a Mississippi native whose résumé includes races for Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
Wicker is also building a grassroots campaign in all of the state’s 82 counties, Brasell said. At the start of the year, he had $1.6 million in his campaign account.
“Our plan is to prepare for a competitive race no matter what,” Brasell said.