Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranTodd Young in talks about chairing Senate GOP campaign arm US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind Mississippi Democrat drops Senate bid MORE (R-Miss.) announced Friday he plans to run for reelection in 2014.

“I will run for reelection to the United States Senate. I will run hard and be successful so that I can continue to serve the people of Mississippi and our nation effectively," he said in a statement.

The six-term senator had been silent about his plans for next year, and a slow fundraising pace fueled rumors he might be looking to retire.

Cochran is favored for reelection, but he faces a difficult primary fight from state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

McDaniel entered the race earlier this year and has gained the backing of a number of prominent national conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, which released a statement on Friday that initially praised Cochran — but pledged to "strongly support" McDaniels.

"Throughout his over 40 years in Washington, Senator Thad Cochran has done some good things for Mississippi, but he’s also done some bad things," said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, noting the senator's votes to raise the debt limit and confirm what he called "liberal" Supreme Court justices, among others.

McDaniel released a similarly complimentary statement.

"Sen. Cochran has had a long and distinguished career representing the people of Mississippi. I look forward to a positive campaign based on the future of our state, our country and the Republican Party. As a strong conservative, I will fight to bring those values to Washington," he said.

Cochran is the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee and he has been locked in intense farm bill negotiations for most of the last month. Key priorities are protecting home state peanut, rice and catfish farmers. 

— This story was updated at 5:17 p.m.