Thad Cochran wins another term after rough Miss. primary fight
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Sen. Thad CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranGOP Senate candidate to African Americans: Stop begging for 'government scraps' Trump endorses Hyde-Smith in Mississippi Senate race GOP Senate candidate doubles down on Robert E. Lee despite Twitter poll MORE (R-Miss.) easily won his general election fight Tuesday night despite a bruising and prolonged primary fight.

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Democrats initially hoped the Mississippi race might become competitive after Cochran nearly lost his primary battle with state Sen. Chris McDaniel. The fight grew nasty and personal and went to a second round of voting, but Cochran pulled out a primary win, in part, by driving African-Americans to the polls.

Still, a rift remained within the GOP in Mississippi, and McDaniel for months pursued legal options to challenge the results of the runoff, alleging voter fraud. The state Supreme Court ultimately ruled against his final challenge in October.

Cochran was dogged by the perception that he was disconnected from the state, as residents complained he was barely seen at home. He was also portrayed as a creature of Washington, after nearly four decades serving in the Senate.

Still, he faced only a marginal challenge from Democratic former Rep. Travis Childers, and the red lean of the state helped him to an easy win.

The victory puts Cochran one step closer to becoming chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee if Republicans win the majority.

While Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) is currently serving as ranking member of that panel, Cochran is the most senior Republican, ensuring he would take over as chairman if Republicans control. He would work alongside Sen. Barbara MikulskiBarbara Ann MikulskiDems ponder gender politics of 2020 nominee Robert Mueller's forgotten surveillance crime spree Clinton: White House slow-walking Russia sanctions MORE (D-Md.), who last year became the first woman to chair the committee.

The GOP needs to flip six seats to become the majority party in the Senate. Several vulnerable Democrats are seeking reelection in conservative states, such as Louisiana, Alaska and Arkansas.