HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - After a nasty Republican primary and months of legal battles with Chris McDaniel, Republican nominee Thad Cochran is headed for a November 4th showdown with Democrat Travis Childers.
But Childers, who has asked Cochran to debate multiple times, said his opponent is avoiding the public forum.
"I just believe if you're not willing to answer those tough questions now, will you make the tough decisions within the next six years?" asked Childers on a Thursday afternoon visit to the Pine Belt.
"We feel like we're in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter," said Childers of the last 12 days of the campaign.
A question along the campaign trail has been about Childers' party association, which is Democrat, although he refers to himself as a "blue dog" Democrat. He is quick to remind voters, however, that party lines do not carry a strong weight with him when it comes to an important vote.
"When I was in Congress, I worked with both parties," he said of his time as a United States Representative. "I worked with whoever had a good idea, and I didn't mind if someone else got the credit. I'm not up there for the credit. I'm up there to help the state of Mississippi."
Childers wants to give that help in the form of equal pay for women, something he said his opponent has voted against as recently as this past summer.
"I believe in the year 2014 it is shameful that we're still talking about women making 76 cents on the dollar versus what a man makes when they do the same job," he explained. "When I was a member of Congress, I voted for it [Pay Check Fairness Act]. I was proud to support it. I would support it in the United States Senate."
Although Medicaid expansion is a debate here at home- and one Republican Governor Phil Bryant continues to reject- Childers said it's not right for Mississippi to reject the federal money that would not only help many across the state get healthcare but would also drive the economy.
Recent polls show Childers trailing the long time incumbent Senator Cochran, but Childers believes he will attract voters on either end.
"If you go up there and only support your party, then you're leaving half of the state with no representation," he said.