Chris McDaniel will not challenge incumbent Senator Roger Wicker, but will instead run a campaign for Thad Cochran’s soon-to-be vacant seat in the U.S. Senate.
McDaniel made the announcement earlier this week, and said that he made the decision after weighing several factors. In the post he stated this was the “best path to best path to win election to the United States Senate”, rather than challenging an incumbent like Wicker. McDaniel also pointed to his familiarity with the seat as it’s the same one that he attempted to win in 2014.
Cochran’s retirement will become official on April 1st, and Governor Bryant will then appoint a temporary replacement ahead the election to fill the seat for the remainder of Cochran’s term, which ends in 2021. The State Senator also said that he felt there to be meddling in the selection process.
“The most prevalent reason is that [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell is in Mississippi trying to control the appointment process. Frankly, I don’t like Washington D.C. meddling in our elections. I don’t like the idea of Mitch McConnell trying to cut deals and schemes to make sure he gets a ‘yes man’, so ultimately, I jumped in to confront that kind of behavior,” McDaniel said.
Governor Bryant tweeted a response to the claim that McConnell is attempting to influence the appointment.
Anyone who thinks anyone in Washington will influence who I appoint to complete Sen. Cochran’s term is out of touch with reality.
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 15, 2018
While some of McDaniel’s supporters hope that he could receive the Governor’s appointment, it would be unlikely following Governor Bryant’s statement on the candidate’s intent to switch races.
“This opportunistic behavior is a sad commentary for a young man who once had great potential,” Governor Bryant said.
Clay Chandler, director of communications for the Governor’s office, stated that McDaniel is not among the people that the Governor is considering.
McDaniel wanted to announce his decision before the appointment is made because he says it helps his and the Republican Party’s chances of unifying to keep the seat red when it comes time for a state-wide election.
“By announcing early, I am asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats’ chance of winning the open seat. If we unite the party now and consolidate our resources, we can guarantee Donald Trump will have a fighter who will stand with him,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel joined the JT Show on SuperTalk Mississippi today, to discuss his decision.
While the race has changed, McDaniel’s message and platform will remain the same as he runs with an emphasis on shaking up the establishment in Washington.
“I’m a conservative, always have been, my record is clear on that,” he stated. “What we’re fighting is Washington D.C.. We’re fighting Mitch McConnell, we’re fighting the swamp, we’re fighting the idea that they can control a lot, we’re fighting those people that tried their best to defeat Donald Trump and still today, are obstructing his agenda. He needs help, we’re going up there to drain the swamp.”
Currently, one other candidate has announced their intent to run for Cochran’s seat. Democrat Mike Espy, former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi, announced his intent just hours after Cochran’s retirement. Espy said that he would like to return to Washington after a long hiatus.
Republicans across the country will have their eye on this race as they attempt to keep a stronghold in the House and Senate ahead of November’s midterm elections.
“We’ve done it the old way for so long,” McDaniel explained. “We’ve allowed the ‘good ‘ole boy’ network to dominate this state for far too long, and we’re still dead last. It’s time for new ideas, it’s time for a debate, and it’s time to express these concepts. It’s time to rally around a conservative that can beat the Democrat in November.”