Could Democrats Beat Chris McDaniel?

Republican Senate candidate Chris McDaniel of Mississippi
National Journal
Alex Roarty
See more stories about...
Alex Roarty
June 24, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

Make no mis­take: Chris McDaniel (R) walks in­to to­night’s Mis­sis­sippi Sen­ate primary run­off the fa­vor­ite. That’s the as­sess­ment of just about every Re­pub­lic­an op­er­at­ive keep­ing a close eye on the race — even those friendly with Sen. Thad Co­chran (R). With that in mind, some GOP op­er­at­ives are already start­ing to con­tem­plate what would hap­pen if McDaniel makes it to the gen­er­al elec­tion.

— The oppo hits leveled against the state sen­at­or will leave a mark to last long after Tues­day. State party lead­ers, the Bar­bours, and of­fi­cials at the NR­SC have done everything from call­ing McDaniel a crim­in­al to link­ing him with white su­prem­acists. Just as bad: They’ve said re­peatedly that should McDaniel win the nom­in­a­tion, Trav­is Childers (D) could go on to win in the fall.

— Demo­crats think Childers could po­ten­tially beat McDaniel, too (though it would be very dif­fi­cult; not­ably, most strategists rank Mis­sis­sippi as a much less prom­ising pick-up op­por­tun­ity than either Ken­tucky or Geor­gia). And they’re de­lighted be­cause the GOP’s at­tempts to paint McDaniel as an ex­trem­ist isn’t a mes­sage that needs any tweak­ing for the fall. If the goal is to win over 100,000 or so Co­chran sup­port­ers, Demo­crats might start by simply du­plic­at­ing an ad Co­chran’s cam­paign is run­ning now.

— In the weeks after Tues­day’s run­off, watch to see if McDaniel is able to re­con­cile with any part of the Co­chran cam­paign, the NR­SC, or maybe most im­port­antly, Haley Bar­bour him­self. Any such meet­ing of the minds would be a big sym­bol for Mis­sis­sippi voters and no doubt of­fer a boost to his fun­drais­ing. Re­pub­lic­ans have made awk­ward re­la­tion­ships like this work be­fore: Just re­mem­ber Mitch Mc­Con­nell and Rand Paul in 2010.

McDaniel’s best as­set is that he’d still be run­ning in Mis­sis­sippi, in a midterm year, at a time when Pres­id­ent Obama‘s ap­prov­al num­bers are nearly dip­ping in­to the 30s in some polls. But even in a good state and strong en­vir­on­ment, there could be a lot of drama there the next five months — if McDaniel does, in fact, win Tues­day night.
— Alex Roarty

What We're Following See More »
Everyone’s Taking Their Best Shots at Philly
30 minutes ago

Not since Eagles fans booed Santa Claus have this many people been dismayed at Philadelphia. Traffic gridlock, poor logistics, and the inevitable summer heat and thunderstorms are drawing the ire of convention goers, as "peeved" delegates complained about "Homerian odysseys" to get from place to place. "On Twitter, out-of-town media complained about the logistics of the convention, spread out between the sports complex in South Philadelphia, media tents a hike away, and the daytime events at the Convention Center in Center City."

France Wakes Up to More Terrorism
41 minutes ago

"Two attackers killed a priest with a blade and seriously wounded another hostage in a church in northern France on Tuesday before being shot dead by French police. The attack took place during morning mass at the Saint-Etienne parish church, south of Rouen in Normandy. Five people were initially taken hostage." The case has been referred to anti-terrorism officials in Paris.

Roll Call Sets the Stage for More Drama
48 minutes ago

"Sometimes, unity is procedural. Mr. Sanders’s delegates will get the chance to back him in a roll-call vote from the convention floor on Tuesday, a largely symbolic gesture intended to recognize the breadth of Mr. Sanders’s support as the former rival campaigns negotiate an awkward peace." Around 6 p.m., they'll begin calling the states to vote. Sanders won't be in a generous mood—at least at the beginning. Last night from the stage, he said, "I look forward to your votes during the roll call tomorrow night." Indeed, in 2008, Clinton herself insisted on a roll call, before halting it "midway through, asking that Mr. Obama be approved by acclamation."

Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
10 hours ago

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
11 hours ago

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.