Cochran releases first ads of campaign

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) released the first ads of his reelection campaign on Tuesday, three positive spots touting his opposition to ObamaCare and his work on the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

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All three 30-second ads feature people, sometimes local Mississippians, vouching for Cochran’s work in the state.

The attempt to publicize Cochran’s accomplishments during his tenure comes as he’s facing the toughest fight of his career from his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

In the ad on ObamaCare, a narrator declares that Cochran is “fighting against ObamaCare and for common-sense health care reform.” 

Another ad features Mississippi residents offering more general praise for Cochran. Mississippi state Rep. Brad Mayo describes Cochran in the ad as a “statesman. Accomplished. Conservative.”

“He cares about the farmers and the businessmen and women. He cares about education. We just need Thad Cochran to move Mississippi forward,” Soni Buckalew of Gulfport says at the end of the ad.

And in the third ad, residents and elected officials tout his work helping the state after Hurricane Katrina.

“He got a tremendous amount of funding for mississippi and the mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina,” says Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway in the ad.

The last ad allows Cochran to take advantage of what his campaign sees as one of McDaniel’s primary vulnerabilities — his reluctance, when asked in a recent interview, to commit to fully supporting the aid package passed after Hurricane Katrina devastated the coast.

McDaniel's position likely wins him some favor among conservatives in the primary, who have criticized the funds for being mismanaged, but it's an unpopular position in Mississippi, which was devastated by the storm.

Still, Cochran is seen as the most vulnerable incumbent senator facing a primary challenge, and has already faced attacks from outside conservative groups backing McDaniel, focused on his votes to raise the debt limit and for the financial bailout, among others. The new ads are an attempt to steer the conversation back to his positive contributions to the state.