McConnell headlining Cochran fundraiser

Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is planning to headline a National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) fundraiser for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), the committee confirmed.

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The fundraiser asks attendees to contribute $1,000 to $2,500 for individuals and $2,000 to $5,000 for PACs. And it’s certain to be a welcome development for Cochran as he enters into what’s expected to be an expensive three-week campaign before a runoff election against primary challenger Chris McDaniel.

The senator, however, looks to be getting a boost from his colleagues in Washington, many of whom have said they plan to again donate the maximum amount to his campaign. His fellow Mississippian, Sen. Roger Wicker (R), said he’s already making fundraising calls for the incumbent.

And that help will be pivotal to his chances of holding on to the seat.

While national conservative groups have offered their support for McDaniel’s bid, establishment Republicans have been somewhat more lukewarm about supporting Cochran, who enters the race the underdog. At least one major establishment spending group, American Crossroads, is sitting the race out.

But the NRSC and the Chamber of Commerce are backing Cochran, wary of the chance that, if McDaniel wins the nomination, he could put the seat in play for Democrats. They're running former Rep. Travis Childers in case of such an outcome. 

NRSC Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said this week that the committee would back McDaniel if he's the nominee.

"I am of the view, and I have seen information that suggests this is true, that McDaniel can win in November too. I expect Mississippi to remain a solidly Republican state. But it is just a much clearer race with Sen. Cochran," he said.