The junior senator from Mississippi seems to have succeeded due to a combination of factors. As the Washington Post pointed out, many of the Republican Senate caucus’ high profile members are either running for re-election in 2016 or preparing to launch presidential bids.
In addition, Wicker apparently earned the respect of his colleagues through his successful efforts to help save Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) from a stiff, tea-party backed primary challenge.
Through his leadership PAC, Wicker contributed $15,000 to Cochran’s campaign — more than he gave to any other candidate (a figure that normally would be over the limit, but Cochran faced a primary, runoff and general election). Wicker also gave $2,000 to Cochran’s campaign from his own campaign committee, and he defended the Cochran campaign’s maligned GOTV tactics and criticized donors for supporting his tea party opponent instead of throwing their money into competitive races against Democrats.
Overall, Wicker doled out $152,500 to Republican candidates from his leadership PAC, Responsibility and Freedom Work PAC — including $10,000 apiece to seven other Republican senators. And further, Wicker’s PAC also contributed $31,760 directly to the NRSC.
Wicker himself cashed a series of checks from high profile Republicans over the past few years, receiving leadership PAC money from Sens. Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (Utah).