Jackson County state senator a key player in McDaniel campaign, legal fight
The June sun is blazing on the parking lot at Gander Mountain in Hattiesburg and Chris McDaniel is chilling out inside the sporting goods store, waiting to hit the stage before hundreds of adoring fans.
But not state Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula.
McDaniel’s best friend and Conservative Coalition cohort in the state Senate is already on stage, winding up the crowd in a bitter campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. It’s a race that has divided the party and put both their careers on the line. And it’s one, as far as McDaniel and Watson are concerned, that wasn’t decided by McDaniel’s loss in the June 24 primary runoff to Sen. Thad Cochran, who has held the seat since 1978.
Watson, on stage just three days before that primary, tells the story of how in 2007 he was urged to run for state Senate, then urged to look up an up-and-comer from Ellisville named McDaniel when he got to Jackson.