Cochran Wins Mississippi Primary Runoff

Sen. Thad Cochran turned back a hard challenge from tea-party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the Mississippi Senate runoff race Tuesday, handing the party establishment arguably its biggest win of the 2014 primary season and boosting Republican hopes of flipping control of the Senate in the November election.

Mr. Cochran’s win was viewed as a huge blow to the national tea party groups and their allies, who invested heavily in the race in hopes of scoring their first big win of the primary season over a Senate Republican incumbent.

The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Cochran more than three hours after the polls closed. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Cochran held a 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent edge over Mr. McDaniel.

“It’s a group effort, it’s not a solo and so we all have a right to be proud of our state tonight,” Mr. Cochran told supporters in a brief appearance late Tuesday night.

Mr. McDaniel, meanwhile, refused to concede. He blamed the loss on “liberal Democrats” and slammed Mr. Cochran and his allies for “once again compromising,” “reaching across the aisle” and “abandoning the conservative movement.”

“The conservative tea party folks wanted a scalp on their mantle,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist. “And in terms of marquee races, the Mississippi and Oklahoma U.S. Senate races were their last best opportunities this cycle. The narrative going forward will be ‘the establishment strikes back,’ but the duel between the Hatfields and McCoys of the Republican Party is far from settled.”

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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