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Ear to the Ground

Mississippi Republican Barely Wins Primary Thanks to Black Democrats

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Posted on Jun 24, 2014

  Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran Senate.gov

In one of the most impoverished, backwater, diehard conservative states in the union, Republican Sen. Thad Cochran found himself leaning, and leaning hard, on Mississippi’s African-American voters to just barely beat his primary challenger, Chris McDaniel.

It was a match that has been repeated throughout the primary season. Establishment GOP candidate trying to fend off a far-right challenger.

In this case, Cochran won, thanks in no small measure to his extraordinary outreach to Democrats and, more specifically, black Democrats.

How Cochran will pay off that debt is yet unclear, but one issue that leaps to mind is the South’s constant efforts to disenfranchise voters of color.

Los Angeles Times:

Late outreach by Cochran’s team to Democrats, particularly African Americans who tend not to vote for Republicans, may have boosted his showing, along with Cochran’s core argument that his seniority in the Senate promised a continued flow of federal resources to Mississippi.

McDaniel, a charismatic two-term state senator, had drawn widespread support with his message of economic populism and a nostalgic promise that Mississippi’s better days were not all past, forcing the veteran senator into the runoff.

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Cochran appears to have taken the race with a razor thin margin.

Democrats, eyeing a rare opportunity in the Deep South, are set to run a conservative of their own.

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