Mississippi’s Senate primary has quickly become the nastiest in the country.
The already bitter battle between insurgent Chris McDaniel and six-term senator Thad Cochran devolved into an all-out mudslinging contest in the wake of the arrest earlier this month of four McDaniel supporters. They are accused of orchestrating a nursing home break-in to videotape Cochran’s bedridden wife, and of using the footage for an attack video that was posted briefly online. There is no evidence, to date, that the McDaniel campaign was involved with the incident, but the Cochran campaign isn’t passing up the opportunity to use it as a political football.
The Mississippi Tea Party — whose vice chairman was arrested in connection with the scandal — has responded, too, sending out an e-mail to supporters arguing that the Cochran campaign’s attempts to link McDaniel to the scandal are merely intended to hide the senator’s “jet-setting lifestyle” and his “living situation with his executive assistant.” (Cochran rents an apartment in Washington, D.C., from his executive assistant, Kay Webber.)
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger on Monday quoted several Mississippi political scientists saying that all the talk about the incident is likely to boost turnout at next week’s primary.