|RCP Polls Heading into Tonight's Primary|
The Mississippi Primary is today and unless Chris McDaniel is found in bed this morning with a dead hooker and/or a live little boy (or both) incumbent Thad Cochran will be a lame duck before those of of us on the east coast go to sleep. And unlike Eric Cantor's loss two weeks ago, Cochran's loss will be no surprise.
Unlike Eric Cantor, Cochran has been in his state, playing the retail politics game, but like the former majority leader Cochran is serious out of touch with his constituency.
Heck he seems out of touch with current events. This February he claimed "The Tea Party is something I don't really know a lot about," Cochran, who was elected senator in 1978 after six years in the House, told Mississippi News Now. A week and a half ago Cochran didn't know that Eric Cantor lost (after it was the number one political story for 24 hours).
Cochran is out of touch by being a "moderate" in a conservative state . His lifetime ratings are 57% on the Freedomworks scorecard, 67% from the Club for Growth and 59% from Heritage Action. The ACU gave him a 60% rating in 2013. if he was a GOP Senator from New York, or from Connecticut like the recently retired Joe Lieberman those numbers would be fine, but he is representing Mississippi a state which went against Obama by 13 points in 2008 and 11 points in 2012.
The incumbent is excellent and bringing home the bacon. In the three years before earmarks were banned Cochran requested 709 earmarks, resulting in $1.9 billion dollars of federal spending in his state. In any other environment those numbers would be wonderful. But government spending is an issue in this race and during this campaign Cochran has positioned himself as someone who brings govt. spending to the State, a fiscal conservative and then again as someone who brings govt. spending to the State.
Finally there's the Tea Party, rather than sit down with the Tea Party and try to co-opt them like Lindsey Graham, when Cochran finally figured out what the Tea Party was he attacked them. Most recently via robocalls claiming the the Tea Party was racist:
In the automated message appearing to target black Democrat voters in Mississippi, the female voice on the line claims that tea party challenger Chris McDaniel would lead to more obstruction in Washington and create more “disrespectful treatment” to the nation’s first African-American president.While I haven't seen any research on the topic, I would suggest that in a state as conservative as Mississippi, the Tea Party represents a big part of the party base.
“The time has come to take a stand and say NO to the tea party,” the message says. “NO to their obstruction. NO to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.”
As I write this polls are about to open in Mississippi. It is likely that it will be Thad Cochran's last campaign as a candidate. In the weeks since the runoff campaign began, the incumbent Cochran has been reaching out to Democrats to sway the primary in his favor, it is his last best hope. But in a primary runoff generally it's the most passionate voters who turn out...in Mississippi at this time those most likely voters will be conservatives. The prediction here is that Cochran's Democratic party reach out won't be enough. Thad Cochran is just too out of touch with his base.