Eliana had a piece the other day on Mississippi that quoted Haley Barbour maintaining that black support for Cochran was spontaneous and self-organizing:
A mailer distributed in heavily African-American precincts struck similar notes, advertising Cochran’s support for Mississippi’s public schools and his tea-party opponent’s opposition to food-stamps programs. The headline: “The Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting.”
“I don’t know who put it out,” former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour says of the fliers. “I can’t imagine the Cochran campaign did that.” Barbour says that support for Cochran among Democrats bubbled up organically and that the six-term senator, who first won a seat in Congress in 1972, has always had bipartisan appeal. “Within a week of the first primary some black churches in Hattiesburg started running ads on the radio in Hattiesburg by raising the money themselves,” he says.
But, lo and behold, Eliana reports today, Cochran supporters paid a scandal-plagued black operative named Mitzi Bickers tens of thousands of dollars to help get out the vote:
Two Atlanta-based entities affiliated with Bickers, The Bickers Group and the Pirouette Company, were paid thousands of dollars to make robo-calls on Senator Cochran’s behalf by a super PAC that backed Cochran in his bid for reelection. Documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show that Mississippi Conservatives, the political-action committee run by former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour’s nephew Henry, paid the groups a total of $44,000 for get-out-the-vote “phone services.”
Read the whole thing.