Haley Barbour-backed group boosts Cochran

Mississippi Republicans with ties to former Gov. Haley Barbour (R) have launched a super-PAC to help Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) defend against a primary challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

The ad, first reported by the New York Times, questions McDaniel’s conservative credentials. It charges that despite claiming to support tort reform, he has in reality opposed it, and has supported budgets that increased Mississippi’s debt.

“So who is Chris McDaniel? He’s whoever he needs to be,” a narrator says at the end of the ad.

The super-PAC, called Mississippi Conservatives, is advised by Henry Barbour, a nephew of the governor, who told the New York Times his uncle will be fundraising for the group.

Despite easily winning reelection with little credible opposition for his six terms in the Senate, Cochran is considered one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents facing a primary challenge this cycle.

McDaniel has the support of a number of deep-pocketed national conservative groups, including the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund.

The younger Barbour suggested that more just Cochran’s seniority is at stake in the primary, a nod to the disappointing Senate losses the GOP faced last cycle when weak candidates made it through primaries and lost in the general election.

“If you look at races in Nevada, Delaware, Indiana and Colorado, you know there are a lot of times these outside groups come in with a candidate like McDaniel, find a way to win the primary, but then lose the general election,” he said.