After forcing a run-off election against Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Chris McDaniel is looking toward a decisive win against the 42-year incumbent. The latest poll gives McDaniel a 52-40 advantage with eight days to go before the June 24 election. That is up from a recent poll that gave McDaniel an 8-point lead.
McDaniel, who has the backing of several conservative and Tea Party groups, surprised many when he accumulated more votes than Cochran in the June 3 primary. Neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote, forcing a run-off election.
Establishment elements in Washington have thrown their financial support behind Cochran. A fundraising event hosted by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) amassed more than $800,000 for Cochran’s campaign. McConnell boasted that it was the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s most successful fundraiser in their building. McConnell, who is no fan of the Tea Party, has been muscling establishment Republicans to support Cochran.
Additionally, two liberal billionaires, Michael Bloomberg and Sean Parker, have each donated $250,000 to a Cochran Super PAC.
Cochran kept a low profile up until the June 3 primary but has since made several public appearances in a concerted effort to retain his Senate seat. However, he has made a series of bizarre statements over the last couple weeks, fueling speculation about Cochran’s mental health.
While Cochran takes advantage of his establishment connections in Washington and buys up airtime, McDaniel will have to rely on grassroots efforts. If Dave Brat’s victory is any indication voters’ attitude toward the Republican establishment, McDaniel should be optimistic of his chances next Tuesday.