Sen. Cochran: Tea Party Rival in GOP Primary Is 'Extremist'

Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 11:10 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Mississippi’s incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran claims his tea party-backed GOP primary challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is an "extremist" whose June 24 runoff win would be "dangerous."

The slam came as a recent Chism Strategies poll shows the 76-year-old, six-term veteran is down 3 percent against the 41-year-old McDaniel, who bested Cochran by a slim margin June 6.

Neither candidate, however, was able to capture 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff.

"He's an extremist," Cochran said Tuesday at a campaign stop in Hattiesburg, Miss., according to local television station WDAM.

"It'd be dangerous to have somebody like him elected."

With just two weeks to go before the runoff, Cochran, who has brought billions to his state, focused on what McDaniel would not do if elected.

"We have a lot of federal initiatives, and if he's going to cut the budgets, we're going to be the state the suffers the most," Cochran said. "To me, that's unthinkable."

In the Democratic Chism Strategies poll, released Saturday, Cochran's lead was within the 3.3 plus-or-minus margin of error.

McDaniel immediately hit back at Cochran's claim.

"There is nothing extreme about fighting to repeal Obamacare, fighting for fiscal responsibility in Washington, and fighting to protect our conservative Mississippi values,"

McDaniel's spokesman Noel Fritsch told WDAM, "The only thing that is extreme is Sen. Cochran's record of voting with the Democrats to raise taxes, increase spending, and even voting to fund Obamacare with taxpayer dollars over his 41 years in Washington.

"Mississippians deserve a senator who represents their conservative values – not Washington's values."

The runoff winner will face Democrat Travis Childers and the Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara in the Nov. 4 general election.

The Associated Press contributed to this story

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