Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is under pressure from Democratic black leaders to return the favor to black voters who helped the Republican win this month's GOP primary runoff.
Black voters came out in record numbers during the election to push 76-year-old Cochran to victory over tea party candidate Chris McDaniel in a close race in a state where there is no party affiliation for primaries.
Now the Congressional Black Caucus is calling on Cochran to do his bit to help poor black constituents in Mississippi, including supporting such liberal causes as the funding of food stamps and the Voting Rights Act, Politico reported
"My hat is off to Sen. Cochran for being as desperate as he was, to actually go out and up front got out and ask for those votes," said Georgia Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson, according to Politico. "Those votes were delivered, and I’m hopeful he will be responsible and responsive to the voters that pushed him over the top."
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat, told Politico that Cochran has a chance to repay the black community in his state if he wins the midterm election against Democrat Travis Childers.
"What I hope happens is that he comes to the realization that African Americans are the reason I have this final six years and therefore I’m going to try and be more responsible than I have been," Cleaver said.
Mississippi Democratic Rep. Benny Thompson said that African Americans voted for Cochran because he was a better alternative than McDaniel.
"Thad Cochran represented an opportunity to vote against times past," Thompson said. "I think what McDaniel represented is to a lot of black people who observed the race is a time past. And for so many of those individuals who suffered in the times past, they were not about to see that happen again."
NAACP Mississippi State President Derrick Johnson said his membership is also expecting Cochran to show more liberal support.
"Two things that we think should come immediately after the election [are] his support of the Voting Rights Act, free of any provisions that would allow for voter ID and, second, to get the presidents of the black colleges to ask for his offices for help to make sure the mission of those institutions are carried out," he told the political news website.
However, the Congressional Black Caucus said that although it supported Cochran over McDaniel, it still hopes that Childers wins in November.
"If you have Democrats and Republicans on the ballot, I think a substantial majority of those people voting who are black will vote Democratic," Thompson said.
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