Tea Party hints at GOP Senate challenge in Miss.

Mississippi Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel is moving closer to announcing a Senate primary challenge to Sen. Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSenate Commerce presses Facebook, Cambridge Analytic for answers on data McDaniel to run for open Senate seat in Miss. rather than challenge Wicker Mississippi is new headache for GOP in the South MORE, setting the stage for another contentious primary fight for McDaniel. 

He appeared to be telegraphing his likely bid during a Facebook Live video on Monday evening, telling supporters to join him for a rally on Wednesday. 

"I'll be holding an event. You can probably read between the lines as to why I'll be holding an event,” McDaniel said during the video. 

"We're looking for a fight and i cant wait to have you on my team again.”

McDaniel will hold the rally at Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss., where both of his parents worked. McDaniel spent much of the video praising his father, telling stories about their shared conservatism and arguing that Republicans need to return the party to the roots of leaders like former President Ronald Reagan. 


"Most conservatives in this country feel that our party, the Republican Party, has lost its foundation," he said. 

"I believe strongly in the Republican Party, I believe strongly in its platform, and I believe strongly we have an opportunity to make things right.” 

McDaniel, who narrowly lost a brutal primary against Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranGOP leaders see finish line on omnibus deal McDaniel to run for open Senate seat in Miss. rather than challenge Wicker Congress, like Hollywood, has a female representation problem MORE (R-Miss.) in 2014, has openly considered challenging Wicker in recent months.

McDaniel ran an unexpectedly strong 2014 primary bid against Cochran, refusing to concede and leveled allegations of voter fraud. That race turned ugly when a blogger supporting McDaniel posted pictures of Cochran's bedridden wife in a nursing home. Mississippi Republicans have long speculated that McDaniel would run again, but weren't sure if he would challenge Wicker now or wait to either run against Cochran, who has faced health issues, in 2020 or wait for the 79-year-old to retire.

The state senator began teasing a possible Senate bid last year, as insurgent Republicans saw a boost amid former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon's calls for primary challengers against virtually every Senate Republican incumbent. 

Bannon met with McDaniel last year and was expected to back him if he jumped into the Senate race in 2018. But Bannon has been forced out of the spotlight after he drew President TrumpDonald John TrumpLieu: There will be 'widespread civil unrest' if Trump fires Mueller Attorneys for Trump, Mueller hold face-to-face meeting to discuss potential interview topics: report Trump tariffs not helpful for nuclear talks, South Korea says MORE's rage with comments in a book disparaging Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTrump Organization real estate partner in India accused of 'large-scale fraud' Wife of White House social media director Dan Scavino files for divorce GOP Fla. gubernatorial candidate pictured with disgraced former congressman at Mar-a-Lago MORE

Even after his strong 2014 campaign, McDaniel could struggle against Wicker, who would likely receive help from the national GOP establishment. A recent poll by JMC Analytics showed Wicker with an 18 point lead over McDaniel with GOP primary voters. 

—Updated at 7:29 p.m.