McDaniel Campaign Manager Won’t Endorse Cochran

by Eliana Johnson

The establishment and tea-party wings of the GOP won’t be coming together anytime soon in Mississippi. Chris McDaniel, the state senator who challenged six-term senator Thad Cochran in a bitter primary fight, is still disputing the results of the June 24 runoff. Now, his campaign manager, state senator Melanie Sojourner, is saying she won’t endorse Cochran in the general election against former Democratic representative Travis Childers, under any circumstances.

The reason? Sojourner said in a July 4 post to her Facebook page that Cochran’s “race-baiting” tactics were simply a step too far.

Between the June 3 primary election, in which McDaniel finished ahead by half a percentage point, and the runoff election, which Cochran won by about two points, the Cochran campaign actively courted black Democrats. A super PAC that backed his bid distributed literature touting his support for historically black colleges and attacking McDaniel for voting against funding for Mississippi’s civil-rights museum.

In her Facebook post, highlighted by BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski, Sojourner said that, rather than appeal to African Americans on the basis of shared conservative principles, the Cochran campaign “used race baiting tactics to take advantage of African-American voters all for the sake of holding onto a seat to feed their money grubbing, greedy, selfish egos.”

McDaniel hasn’t yet conceded to Cochran, but if and when he does, this is a foretaste of the vituperation that Cochran can expect to be heaped upon him from some Mississippi Republicans.

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