A former Republican House candidate is switching parties to run as a Democrat against Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranBottom line Bottom line Alabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future MORE (R-Miss.), he announced Friday.


Bill Marcy told the Associated Press that he plans to file papers to run on Wednesday, making him the first Democrat in the race.

But he plans to stick to his conservative positions on the issues and is running as a Democrat to give voters a “Plan B” if Cochran’s conservative primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, doesn’t succeed in defeating the senator.

Marcy lost two races against Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), in 2010 and 2012, but said he believes he could be successful in the Senate race by drawing support from a coalition of black voters and Tea Party voters.

Marcy himself is black, and told the AP he thought he’d have a shot at winning black voters who may agree with him on the issues but be wary of the GOP label.

"I couldn't bring black people into the Republican Party," he said.

McDaniel announced his challenge to Cochran last year and has since picked up some support from prominent national conservative groups, including the Club for Growth, which has been airing ads in the state on his behalf.

Conservatives have long criticized Cochran for securing federal money for Misssissippi programs, a practice they see as wasteful.

But Cochran remains popular in the state and has strong support from the Republican establishment.