Social conservatives wade into Miss. race

 

State Sen. Chris McDaniel picked up a last-minute endorsement from the Family Research Council’s PAC this weekend in his primary challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.).

Family Research Council Chairman Tony Perkins wrote in a letter to McDaniel that the group is endorsing him because of his opposition to abortion rights and gay marriage.

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“The strong, principled, conservative men and women elected in 2010 and 2102 need reinforcements,” Perkins writes in the letter.

McDaniel also picked up the backing of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (R) last week, who cut an ad for the candidate and campaigned for him on the Mississippi coast on Saturday. 

The late-breaking endorsements are the latest indication conservatives see a strong shot at victory on Tuesday. Two surveys out over the past three weeks have shown it to be a single-digit race, with the most recent poll putting Cochran up just five points.

And Cochran’s supporters are taking nothing for granted. A mysterious new group supporting Cochran emerged this past weekend pitching Democrats on the incumbent with an ad placed in an African-American newspaper.

“The decision on who is going to be our next senator is going to be made in the Republican primary. We’re asking Democrats to cross over and vote in the Republican primary to ensure our community’s interest is heard,” the ad reads.

The ad points to a series of accomplishments in Cochran’s tenure aimed at helping minority communities.

It was published in The Mississippi Link, a weekly newspaper geared toward Jackson, Miss.’s black community, and it was paid for by “All Citizens for Mississippi,” which doesn’t appear in the Federal Election Commission’s online filing database.

That apparent failure to file a statement of organization sparked an FEC complaint from the pro-McDaniel Tea Party Patriots against the group. The group suggests Cochran’s treasurer, John Robinson, should also be held accountable for the ad, though there’s no indication the two are linked.

Cochran’s opponents see the ad as desperate move from an incumbent in the final throes of a losing race.

The two will face off on Tuesday, and the nominee will go on to face former Rep. Travis Childers (D) in the general election.

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