The National Republican Senatorial Committee, which is overseeing the party’s effort to win a Senate majority in the November election, sent $45,400 yesterday to Cochran’s campaign, according to a filing with the Senate public records office.
Republican officials are aiding Cochran, a politically dominant figure in Mississippi politics, as he tries to fend off primary opponent Chris McDaniel, a state senator. The leading Democratic candidate is former Rep. Travis Childers. Mississippi backed Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama by 55 to 44 percent in the 2012 election.
McDaniel has attacked Cochran’s record on federal spending and called attention to the incumbent’s more than 41 years in Congress, including more than 35 in the Senate. McDaniel’s backers include the Club for Growth, a Washington-based group promoting limited government, and the Senate Conservatives Fund, which had opposed Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s renomination in a Kentucky primary that McConnell won yesterday.
Cochran’s allies include the super-political action committee Mississippi Conservatives, which has promoted Cochran’s seniority as good for Mississippi industry and also paid for ads attacking McDaniel. A leader and donor of the pro-Cochran effort is Haley Barbour, a former Mississippi governor and Republican National Committee chairman.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which supports Cochran, donated $100,000 to Mississippi Conservatives on May 5. The American Hospital Association, the largest trade association for hospitals, began airing an ad yesterday that praised Cochran as a “fighter” for rural hospitals, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, an ad tracker.
The primary has taken a nasty turn within the past week, after the arrest of a conservative blogger who’s charged with taking an unauthorized photograph of Cochran’s bedridden wife in a nursing home.