Politics

Cochran backing Super PAC attacks McDaniel on tort reform

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Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

A Super PAC backing Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is attacking Cochran’s primary opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, on his tort reform position in a new mailer.

The mailer, obtained by The Daily Caller, will begin arriving in Mississippi voters’ mailboxes on Friday. It attacks McDaniel for his position on tort reform, which he has supported as a legislator, but which it says he once argued against in a trial.*

Mississippi Conservatives PAC is a Super PAC led by Henry Barbour that is backing Cochran’s re-election bid and playing attack dog against McDaniel, the tea party challenger who has the backing of several of the big outside groups, including the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

The mailer reprises an argument from a television ad the group ran, attacking McDaniel on tort reform. In the 2011 trial Tanner v. Eagle Oil, McDaniel was one of the lawyers on the team defending Tanner,* which argued that he should get $8 million in damages from Eagle Oil to cover his medical expenses as well as compensate him for the “suffering” he endured after being injured while working on one of the company’s sites.

That $8 million request blows through the $1 million non-economic caps imposed in the 2004 tort reform, reform which McDaniel said he supported in an interview with Conservative Intelligence Briefing.

“Chris McDaniel can’t hide from the facts,” the mailer reads.

McDaniel’s campaign has called the mailers a desperate attempt to cover up Cochran’s own voting record.

“The SuperPAC attack calling Chris McDaniel a trial attorney is clearly a desperate attempt to cover up Thad Cochran’s liberal record by distracting voters from Thad Cochran’s clear record of supporting liberal policies such as gun control, increased spending, higher taxes, and even tax payer funded abortions. The truth is Chris McDaniel has voted for tort reform multiple times in the state legislature, while Thad Cochran has voted against tort reform repeatedly,” McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch told The Daily Caller.

McDaniel himself has vehemently pushed back against the attacks in an extensive Facebook post in February.

“The Cochran campaign has started a nasty TV ad insinuating that I somehow am a trial lawyer against tort reform. Nothing could be further than the truth,” he wrote, listing all of the times he “voted consistently for tort reform as a state senator,” and attacking Cochran for having “sided with Democrats and trial lawyers many times over his career, voting against reasonable tort reform measures.”

“As you can see,” he concluded, “there is only one pro-business candidate in this race.”

See the full mailer here:

MSConservativePAC Tort Mailer 1
MSConservativesPAC Tort Mailer 2
MSConservativesPAC Tort Mailer 3
MSConservativesPAC Tort Mailer 4
MSConservativesPAC Tort Mailer 5
MSConservativesPAC Tort Mailer 6

*This post has been updated for clarity and to make clear that McDaniel was not the sole lawyer on the Tanner trial, but was, according to the McDaniel campaign, helping out the partner at his firm who was the main attorney.

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