Facing a tough primary fight, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) launched a new ad that touts his positions on three bread-and-butter conservative issues: Guns, abortion and ObamaCare.
That candidate is Cochran. But despite those conservative bona fides, he’s seen as the most vulnerable incumbent facing a primary challenge.
State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) swept the endorsements of national conservative groups early on in his race. They’re hopeful that Cochran’s long tenure and rustiness on the campaign trail, coupled with a career built on bringing federal money back to the state, will cause him to fall in the June primary.
But the NRA endorsement was a major coup for Cochran, NRA Executive Director Chris Cox touted his work in the Senate protecting gun rights when announcing the endorsement — an indication his six terms in office may yet be an asset for him.
Indeed, the ad seeks to turn his experience into an advantage, as McDaniel can’t tout his voting record on ObamaCare or his score from the NRLC on the campaign trail. McDaniel does, however, have the endorsement of social conservative leader Phyllis Schlafly.
And in the last poll of the race, conducted in December, McDaniel trailed Cochran by about 23 points — a significant gap, but not insurmountable before the primary.
Democrats are eagerly watching the Republican primary as well. They believe a McDaniel win could give them an opening to take back the seat, and are running former Rep. Travis Childers (D) in case of such an outcome.