Despite State Sen. Michael Watson calling Chris McDaniel “THE Republican nominee” as he introduced his colleague…

Thad Cochran won.

Despite the millions in out of state money from national Tea Party groups looking for a trophy scalp…

Thad Cochran won.

Despite the political celebrities with idealistic, ear tickling rhetoric…

Thad Cochran won.

Despite the divisiveness, vitriol, and craziness…

Thad Cochran won…

And Cochran won by expanding the Republican vote in areas that would not normally see such activity.

No other Republican official could do what Thad Cochran did Tuesday.

Only Cochran could pull off a runoff win after being down in the initial primary, and he did so by being himself.

The quiet persuader quietly persuaded.

He didn’t grandstand, go on a national radio tour, pander for endorsements, or attempt to burn the house down, a Republican house he helped build.

Instead he went about his campaign reminding voters of his pro-Mississippi record, and they responded.

The Cochran campaign wasn’t ready for what happened June 3. It was better prepared June 24.

Upwards of 40,000 additional voters cast their ballot in an historic runoff election where close to 360,000 turned out (let that sink in) for a Republican primary.

If traditional Democrats and black voters did crossover, it was likely because they feared the Tea Party more than Cochran, knowing full well Democratic nominee Travis Childers would not be as effective for Mississippi as Cochran.

Instead of vilifying these voters, stereotypically equating their skin color with their politics, Republicans should identify these and seek to bring them into the fold longterm as we continue to make Mississippi ever more red by growing the party.

Every Republican statewide elected official and many in the legislature came out for Cochran, touting the necessity of his seniority and his influence to benefit the state.

Now it is up to them – Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, Auditor Stacey Pickering and on down – to rein in Chris McDaniel and end whatever challenge the state senator may be considering for the health of the GOP in Mississippi.

McDaniel’s furiously defiant election night speech only plays out one way – hurting the Republican Party in November and beyond.

There is no mechanism in Mississippi that allows a write-in campaign (although as I’ve said it wouldn’t surprise me if they try) so get that out of your head. It won’t be recognized. It will be another fight waged with no results.

If McDaniel files a challenge his supporters may cheer but in truth proving voter intent in a general election even if they can identify crossover Democrats is next to impossible. That had to weigh in to the judge’s decision to throw out the lawsuit McDaniel supporter Ron Swindall filed Monday.

Once the results are certified this election is over. McDaniel would do well to take a long look in the mirror and consider what a drawn out challenge does both to the Republican Party and the conservative cause.

Losing is tough and the way he believes he lost is quite stinging (I know), but for the sake of the all important 51 seats needed in November to gain control of the US Senate he must take it on the chin, suck it up and live to fight another day.

If he does, he may add fans to his cheering section and remain a viable consideration for Republican voters in future elections.

If he doesn’t, it will prove what his critics have implied, that he’s more concerned about himself and his rhetoric than he is for the conservative movement and the practical application and implementation of conservative policies.

I don’t envy Joe Nosef. His will be a thankless job in the coming days. He must bring some political reality to the table, and Bryant, Reeves and the rest must back him up enthusiastically.

Now is the time to come together and defeat the Democratic nominee.

The choice is now clear – Do you support Thad Cochran or Travis Childers? Do you want a conservative in the party of Cruz, Lee, and Paul or a liberal in the party of Reid, Pelosi, and Obama?

Sitting on the sidelines does nothing for Mississippi or the conservative cause.

As we teach our children when they lose a ballgame: be a good sport, shake hands, tell them good game and learn from your mistakes.

Mississippi Republicans can’t be sore losers in a hard fought primary. Hold your heads high, live to fight another day, and get on board the train to defeat Childers in November.