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The Old Guard And Thad Cochran Hang On In Mississippi Republican Primary

Sen. Thad Cochran won — surprise! — in round two of a nasty Senate battle and will be the Republican nominee.

Posted on June 24, 2014, at 11:13 p.m. ET

John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald / MCT

Thad Cochran isn't done in the U.S. Senate after more than 35 years.

In close fashion, the 76-year-old Mississippi Republican defeated primary challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the runoff of a contentious and deeply weird primary election.

Cochran was largely expected to lose Tuesday night. The establishment Republican made a hard campaign push in recent weeks, enlisting Republicans like Sen. John McCain and Brett Favre, and the money of the national committees, to ultimately defeat the less-funded, less-established tea partier.

The exit of Cochran — a champion of pork and dealmaker on major issues like the Farm Bill — would have represented a potential shift in the amount of federal dollars Mississippi receives each year.

The younger McDaniel ran an aggressive outsider campaign, funded by outside groups and focused on conservative principles.

But McDaniel also drew the most attention for comments made in the mid-2000s on a radio show he formerly hosted, including slavery reparations, the word mamacita, and many other topics.

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