“I wanted you to be among the first to know that I will run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Thad Cochran,” McDaniel wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.
Today, Chris McDaniel announced that he will run for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Thad Cochran. The seat will become open on Aprl 1, the date of Cochran’s retirement.
Cochran’s departure from the Senate will trigger a special election to fill his unexpired term. McDaniel has been getting a lot of encouragement from his supporters to run in the open seat. Supporters say an open seat is the best path for McDaniel to win election to the United States Senate.
“By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats’ chances of winning the open seat,” McDaniel said. “If we unite the party now and consolidate our resources, we can guarantee Donald Trump will have a fighter who will stand with him.”
The open seat is the same seat McDaniel competed for in the 2014 Republican primary where he received the most votes with 49.5 percent of the total. Cochran, however, prevailed after 40,000 Democrats voted in the GOP run-off, giving Cochran a win by just over 6,000 votes.
Donors looking to increase the Republican majority in the U.S. Senate that would like to avoid a contentious primary in deep red Mississippi have strongly supported the idea of McDaniel running in the open seat. Many GOP donors complained about the recent election in Alabama where Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, alone spent more than $8 million to target conservative Congressman Mo Brooks. That effort led to Roy Moore winning the Republican nomination and subsequentely being defeated by Democrat Doug Jones, the first Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in conservative Alabama since Richard Shelby, now a Republican, won in 1992.
“When you look at how the establishment works to keep conservatives like Mo Brooks from winning a U.S. Senate seat only to lose the seat entirely, you have to conclude that Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants would rather lose a seat to a Democrat than elect a conservative,” said McDaniel.
“It’s no secret that the Mississippi Republican establishment has been coordinating with Mitch McConnell to do everything in their power to keep me from getting elected to the United States Senate, just as they did with Mo Brooks,” said McDaniel. “Mitch McConnell wants to hand-pick our next Senator. I understand why. It’s because they know that I won’t be answering to them, I’ll be answering to the voters of Mississippi and putting Mississippi first.”
FreedomWorks and state tea party activists on Wednesday plan to call for Gov. Phil Bryant to appoint state Sen. Chris McDaniel to the U.S. Senate seat Thad Cochran will vacate April 1.
“Local activists want to show the governor there is a strong grassroots demand for a true conservative to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate,” a news release on the event said. “State Senator Chris McDaniel has a proven record of advancing limited-government values and would be a leader in the fight to drain the swamp.”
Sources close to the Republican governor have said Bryant has no interest in appointing McDaniel to the seat. They also said the governor has been angered by repeated phone calls to his office and by a push to appoint McDaniel that began even before Cochran announced his resignation.
On Tuesday, Bryant spokesman Clay Chandler said: “Gov. Bryant will announce the U.S. Senate appointment once he decides who that will be. That decision has not been made. But he will not be affected by any political group or dynamic. The governor believes Sen. McDaniel should focus his energy on the campaign to which he is committed.”
McDaniel on Tuesday said his campaign is not involved with the event, but he appreciates his supporters.
The announcement said that more than 20 supporters from FreedomWorks and the Mississippi Tea Party will hold a news conference in the Rotunda of the Capitol at 1 p.m. Speakers scheduled include the Rev. C.L. Bryant, a senior fellow at FreedomWorks, and Laura Van Overschelde, chairwoman of the Mississippi Tea Party.
Resource: The Daily Beast, Chris McDaniel