BY JOE BUCK COATES
The battle for the Republican nomination of the Senate seat held by long-term incumbent Thad Cochran has been interesting, to say the least. The stakes soared even higher after newcomer David Bratt upset House Majority Whip Eric Cantor in the Virginia Republican primary a couple of weeks ago.
How did Rep. Cantor lose what seemingly was going to be a fairly easy win? Rep. Cantor had much going for him–power and prestige from having held his seat since 2001 and being elected the number two leader of the House, a war chest from having served 6-plus terms and all the prestige and spoils that go along with it. He just expected to win.
Bratt, who was backed by so-called Tea Party activists within the Republican party, came out of nowhere to defeat the juggernaut 56%-44%. He spent only a very small portion of what Rep. Cantor did leading up to the primary. He faces Democratic candidate Jack Trammell–another unknown–in November’s general election. Trammell was expected to be the Democrats’ sacrificial lamb against Rep. Cantor in November, but now, his campaign has most certainly been invigorated by Bratt’s win.
A similar scenario is playing out here in Mississippi. Very few expected challenger Chris McDaniel to give Sen. Cochran a run in the June 4 Republican primary. However, he even earned more votes than the incumbent, but not enough to avoid a runoff, which will be held next Tuesday.
Cochran, for his sake, is having to truly campaign for the first time in 30 or so years. The result of the primary, I think, was a loud wake-up call for his campaign managers, if not for himself. He was even at a campaign stop in Wesson on Tuesday.
On the sidelines, for now, sits Travis Childers, who quietly earned the Democratic nomination on June 4. Childers is no stranger to politics, having served as Mississippi’s First District representative from 2008 to 2011. He knows how the game is played.
And, the way the two Republicans have been beating up each other the past few days–and dragging supporters through the filth–Childers, right now, finds himself sitting pretty for the November general election.