National conservative groups are angry after incumbent Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran pulled off a victory in the state’s GOP run-off — likely because of his campaign’s outreach to Democratic voters.
“It’s disgraceful that self-described GOP leaders like Mitch McConnell, John McCain, the Chamber of Commerce and the NRSC would champion a campaign platform of pork barrel spending and insider deal-making, while recruiting Democrats to show up at the polls,” Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks said after the results came in.
Tuesday’s closely-watched run-off came after conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel edged Cochran in votes in the initial election earlier this month. Because no candidate exceeded 50 percent, voters headed to the polls again on Tuesday for a run-off.
Cochran’s campaign attempted to increase voter turnout for the senator by wooing black Democrats and independents to his cause.
“If the only way the K Street wing of the GOP establishment can win is by courting Democrats to vote in GOP primaries, then we’ve already won,” Kibbe continued. “Tonight is proof that the K Street establishment is intellectually bankrupt, and we are going to have to clean it up.”
With about 98 percent of the vote in on Tuesday evening, Cochran was leading McDaniel, a state senator, 50 percent to 49 percent, respectively.
“Unfortunately in Mississippi, nefarious campaign tactics seem to have won the day over ideas and a bold conservative vision,” Tea Party Express executive director Taylor Budowich said.
“Thad Cochran was able to squeak by against a previously little-known state senator thanks to the largesse of the Mississippi and Washington establishments,” said ForAmerica chairman Brent Bozell.
Dr. Milton Wolf, a Republican challenging incumbent Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, said: “Tonight’s election in Mississippi is yet another sign that the Washington Republican establishment has joined league with Democrats to declare all-out war on conservatives and our country is at stake.”
“Even worse, NRSC chairman Jerry Moran spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of ‘Republican’ independent expenditure money turning out Democrats to manipulate a Republican primary in a safe Republican seat,” Wolf said, “showing just how low the party bosses are willing to go to protect fellow insiders.”
Meanwhile, Moran, who leads the National Republican Senatorial Committee that actively supported Cochran, congratulated Cochran on “his hard-fought and well-deserved victory tonight in Mississippi.”
“Thad Cochran has dedicated his life to serving the people of Mississippi and he will continue to fight diligently for them in the Senate,” Moran, a Kansas senator, said. “Thad lived up to his reputation as a statesman who always puts what is best for Mississippi and Mississippians first.”