Generally conservative incumbent Thad Cochran (R-MS) appears to have squeaked out a primary victory over unconditionally conservative tea party favorite Chris McDaniel.
Cochran probably won by convincing enough Mississippi Democrats – who are unlikely to ever vote Republican in the general election – to cross over and vote for him this one time.
The funny part? Those Democrats did Republicans a favor.
Why? Here are two key reasons:
-While the Democrat candidate Travis Childers would be a long shot no matter which Republican won the primary, he would almost certainly have had a better chance against McDaniel, because he might have gained the votes of at least some more moderate/centrist Mississippi Republicans.
-Additionally, a McDaniel win would have been fodder for the Democrats to claim that tea party-endorsed candidates like him have a choke-hold on the Republican Party. Instead, Republicans can point to this primary (and several others where tea party candidates lost) to “prove” that the party is a diverse entity with no one faction controlling it.
The bottom line is that, unless you are a Republican hardline conservative purist, Thad Cochran\’s win should be seen as an important victory for your party.