Republicans divided over Chris McDaniel Senate run

Chris McDaniel (Source, Mississippi Senate website)
Chris McDaniel (Source, Mississippi Senate website)

By Courtney Ann Jackson - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - Taking on the established Washington leadership. That's what Chris McDaniel plans to do. Republican strategist Henry Barbour says there's one twist to this.

"It's a little bit unusual for somebody in the same party to run against somebody who's viewed as a legend," explained Barbour.

Public opinion following the government shutdown is part of what McDaniel is capitalizing on. Tea Party members backing him, say they want a Washington shake-up.

"Let me tell you something about Mississippians. Mississippians have come awake. They have now realized and more and more they're realizing the bum deal they've been getting from the GOP," said Tea Party member Roy Nicholson.

Still, Barbour isn't convinced McDaniel is ready.

"Senator McDaniel is ineffective in the state senate and not really able to get much accomplished in the state senate. So it's hard to think why he deserves to be promoted," said Barbour.

There's one promise Barbour hopes McDaniel keeps for the sake of the party in the general election.

"He can say he's going to run a clean campaign but the question is, is he going to make his allies run a clean campaign?" asked Barbour.

Immediately after McDaniel's announcement, the endorsements started popping up from political action committees. Many of them blasting Cochran's record.

"He's not the guy you're going to see with a brick in his hand throwing it at the other side. It's not his style. He's somebody we can be proud of everyday," described Barbour.

Thad Cochran hasn't made an official announcement that he'll run for re-election. But he has been raising money. And McDaniel is gearing up to do the same.

"I don't take Chris McDaniel lightly. But he's got an uphill battle," explained Barbour.

"You've got a young man here. He's got a lot of energy. He's got a lot of people with a lot of fight in them,"said Nicholson of McDaniel.