GOP Strategist: Cochran's Last-Minute Moves Won The Race

The gloves-off battle between Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, an establishment Republican, and his tea party challenger, Chris McDaniel, was reminiscent of a Hatfield and McCoys feud, with Cochran eking out the win.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell tells "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that Cochran, the underdog despite his 36-year incumbency, pulled out all the stops for a last-minute strategy change.

In a three-week time period, Cochran called on "every political marker that everyone ever owed him from Brett Favre, to donors, etc.," O’Connell said. "He had to fine-tune his message, and instead of pandering to the base, he decided to attack to the middle and basically tout incumbency in the fact that he'd bring home the pork."

The Cochran camp "increased the voter universe" via "an archaic rule that allows Democrats who did not vote in the Democratic primary to be able to vote in the runoff primary, even on the GOP side. So hats off to him. I have to say this was an amazing thing."

"I understand [McDaniel] thinks that this was underhanded, but politics is not a gentleman's game, and the rules were the rules."

Read more from Melissa Clyne at

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Analysis & Political Strategy