Political organizations with no spending limits that have been credited with defeating incumbent U.S. senators in primary elections have Mississippi’s six-term Republican in their crosshairs.
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s supporters argue his finesse and long history of sending billions in federal money to Mississippi public universities, medical research and infrastructure throughout the state has led to more jobs and improvements in one of the nation’s poorest states.
Cochran’s name adorns many buildings, institutes and centers throughout the state to show gratitude for his support.
Congress banned earmarks in 2011 after criticism that they wasted tax dollars on unneeded projects, but resentment toward Cochran’s support for the practice continues to fester among insurgent conservative groups taking on the Republican establishment.
Tea Party organizations and other groups and individuals determined to radically reduce government spending view Cochran’s past aggressive federal earmarking as symbolism for bloated government spending. These groups believe Cochran’s actions in Washington don’t reflect the fiscal conservatism he espouses.
Four PACs based in metropolitan Washington have spent at least $675,069 since October to support Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel, 41, a relatively unknown state senator until he announced in October plans to unseat the third most senior U.S. senator in the June 3 primary election.