The GOP’s Mississippi Muddle

Democrats are hoping that Mr. McDaniel prevails in the runoff and then commits a gaffe, which they will then spread via their media megaphone to define all Republicans this year. The Democratic nominee is Travis Childers, a former Congressman who is busy portraying himself as equally opposed to President Obama as any Republican.

While Mississippi is a conservative state, it’s less Republican than others in the South. Mitt Romney won the state by only 12 percentage points in 2012, which is not much more than he took Missouri (9%) or Indiana (10%). Blacks make up 37% of the state electorate, and they’ll turn out largely for the Democrat. Keep in mind that Democratic Senators represent Louisiana, Arkansas and West Virginia—states where President Obama lost by 17 to 27 points in 2012.

As a candidate, Mr. McDaniel can’t compare to Senators Marco Rubio or Ron Johnson, tea party favorites with a shrewd political sense and substantive accomplishment. The challenge for the Club for Growth and Mr. McDaniel’s other backers if they do defeat Mr. Cochran is to make sure that their candidate doesn’t turn into another Todd Akin or Sharron Angle.

The GOP needs to pick up six seats to retake the Senate, and so far this year they’ve improved their chances by fielding promising nominees in places like Michigan, New Hampshire, Colorado and this week Iraq war veteran and state legislator Joni Ernst in Iowa. What a lost opportunity it would be if Republicans won one or more of these toss-up races only to lose the Senate because they lost in Mississippi.

Wall Street Journal
6/6/14