McCain to hit campaign trail for Cochran

Greg Nash

In the final stretch of the Mississippi Republican primary runoff, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is getting support from a Super Bowl quarterback and now a former GOP presidential nominee: Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

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McCain is heading to the state to campaign for Cochran on Sunday, his campaign confirmed to The Hill.

The Arizona senator is the latest in a parade of prominent establishment figures to throw their weight behind Cochran as he attempts to fight off a fierce primary challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) ahead of Tuesday's vote. 

McCain's 2008 running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, is backing McDaniel, though as are many other Tea Party-aligned Republicans. 

Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, a Mississippi native, appeared in an ad for Cochran from the Chamber of Commerce, and Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) touted Cochran’s military service in another ad from Cochran’s campaign.

The senator himself appears in a new ad making a pitch to voters that could as easily come from his Tea Party-backed incumbent about the right of people “to make their own decisions without unnecessary interference from the government.” 

“That’s what freedom is all about,” he says in the ad.

Most polling of the runoff has shown McDaniel leading Cochran by single digits. While he's favored to defeat the incumbent in the runoff, both McDaniel's and Cochran's supporters say the outcome of a Senate primary runoff is hard to predict.