The vicious primary between state senator Chris McDaniel and veteran Sen. Thad Cochran demonstrates that tea party divisions persist in the Republican party. And the race still isn’t over, with weeks to go before the general election.
Three months ago, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran shocked the political world by winning a Republican primary runoff against his tea party challenger, McDaniel.
His narrow victory came after political observers expected McDaniel to prevail. That the state senator nearly defeated Cochran, who has been a U.S. senator since the late 1970s, was a reminder to the Republican establishment that the populist tea party movement can still move elections.
But the story isn’t over. The McDaniel campaign is challenging the results of the runoff, claiming that fraud contributed to Cochran’s narrow victory. As the court challenge winds through the Mississippi judicial process, Republicans in the state are still divided over the two choices, and the general election is just days away.
The NewsHour, in collaboration with Mississippi Public Broadcasting, recently interviewed a cast of players involved in this political drama.
MPB reporter Jeffrey Hess unpacks the narrative in this video report.