House majority leader Eric Cantor’s defeat in the Virginia Republican primary inspired Senator Ted Cruz to tout the tea-party challenger to Senator Thad Cochran (R., Miss.), although Cruz still officially followed the unwritten rule about refusing to endorse challengers to incumbent senators of his own party.
“You look at the results of last night. Dave Brat was outspent 50 to 1, and yet the people woke up and said we’re tired of business as usual in Washington,” Cruz told Glenn Beck, who has been boosting state senator Chris McDaniel’s challenge to Cochran, during a Wednesday-morning radio interview. ”You look at the results in Mississippi, where the fourth longest-serving member of the Senate has suddenly found himself in a runoff because Chris McDaniel is running a strong grassroots campaign. How does Washington respond? By heaping lies and personal attacks, and trying to attack any candidate who takes on the Washington status quo.”
That wasn’t a slip of the tongue, either. ”You asked what we can do,” Cruz continued, in what Mississippi voters might regard as a not-so-subtle hint. “The biggest thing we can do is rise up and demand that our elected officials in both parties listen to the people, and that we hold every elected official accountable, and I think 2014 is going to be a very strong election year, but I think 2016 is going to be even stronger, because sometimes things have to get really bad to startle people out of their slumber, to wake them up and say it’s now or never. We either stand up now or we will lose the greatest country in the history of the world.”
Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah), an ally of Cruz’s in the Senate, advised McDaniel’s campaign down the stretch of the primary, although his staff said they would have given Cochran the same advice if he had asked for it. “The advice was always consistent that people are looking to vote for someone,” spokesman Brian Phillips told NRO. “In this primary, you’re not going to get over 50 percent by just slamming the other guy and getting people to vote against the other guy; that at some point there is going to be a significant number of independents and undecideds who are going to be looking to vote for someone. And that’s true, I think, in any primary. And we had given the advice that we think the agenda is the thing that people will vote for. And so, if you’re looking to move numbers of undecideds and independents, the agenda shows the way, and so that was the advice that we gave, and that’s the advice we would give to anybody.”