Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is facing fresh attacks from his primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, over his commitment to Mississippi, after a report revealed Cochran listed a Washington, D.C., location as his primary address on numerous official documents.
His campaign said he rents that apartment from his executive assistant. That address was listed on his most recent statement of candidacy, filed in May 2013, but his campaign revised the address to reflect a cabin he owns in Oxford, Miss., on April 28 of this year.
Further documents show Cochran designated his Oxford cabin as a second home and listed the Capitol Hill row house as his “present address” on others.
Residency questions have dogged and contributed to the defeat of other incumbent senators before, most recently former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who lost his primary after it was revealed that he no longer lived in the state and mostly stayed in hotels when visiting Indiana.
McDaniel previously said he and his campaign were “watching … very carefully” whether the senator spent much time at home and asked “how could one be responsive to the local people if he doesn’t know the will of the people?”
McDaniel’s spokesman, Noel Fritsch, said the new details indicate Cochran is “a perfect example of what’s wrong with D.C. — he has been there for nearly 42 years and doesn't spend much time in the state he's supposed to represent.”
“Sen. Cochran is out of touch with the people of Mississippi, and his four decades of voting for more spending, his own pay raises, tax hikes, taxpayer funded abortion and even to fund ObamaCare, demonstrate that Thad Cochran puts D.C. ahead of Mississippians,” Fritsch added.
Cochran’s spokesman, Jordan Russell, pushed back against the suggestion that the senator is detatched from the state, pointing to the fact that he’s filed a tax exemption on his Oxford cabin that can only be applied to one property per person, noting that he’s registered to vote in Oxford and spent “over 100 days” in Mississippi in 2013.
“Anyone who tries to tell you that Thad Cochran doesn't live in Mississippi doesn't know what they're talking about. It's just not true. This is clearly an attempt by Chris McDaniel's desperate, flailing campaign to make an issue of something that's just not an issue,” Russell said.
Cochran is seen as the incumbent Republican senator most vulnerable to a primary challenge, but hopes for McDaniel have cooled somewhat with just under a month left in the primary.