Incumbent Thad Cochran Narrowly Defeats Tea Party Challenger Chris McDaniel

Christine Rousselle

6/24/2014 11:17:00 PM - Christine Rousselle

Incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) emerged victorious tonight by a razor-thin margin in the Mississippi GOP Senate primary runoff election with a vote of 182,507 to 177,709. The runoff was necessitated after neither Cochran nor Tea Party-backed Chris McDaniel received over 50 percent of the vote in the primary. Cochran will now face Democrat Travis Childers in the general election.

The race was quickly labeled as an Establishment GOP vs. Tea Party challenge, and was marked by odd behavior and curious tactics from supporters of both candidates.

As the run-off was technically an open primary, voters who did not vote in the Democratic primary were able to vote in today's election regardless of their party affiliation. Cochran's campaign had been courting black Democrat voters to vote for him in the runoff, citing his experience in Washington. Cochran also heavily campaigned among union members who generally do not vote Republican. While it's certainly a risky move to rely upon a coalition of one's opponents for enough votes to win a close election, it is appearing that this strategy paid off for Cochran as he won by less than 5,000 votes.

Cochran is seeking his seventh term in the Senate.