EDITORIAL/How Cochran wins the run-off
Wednesday, June 4, 2014 10:57 AM
U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran needs to do two things to win a run-off election: 1.) Show he has fire in the belly and really wants the job and 2.) Make the vivid contrast between Mississippi and the special interests of his challenger.
Now that Cochran supporters see Chris McDaniel is for real, the campaign needs a stronger ground game to get those supporters out to vote. It's a wake-up call.
Mr. Cochran is mild-mannered and humble. But voters need to see some fire. Does he really want to continue serving?
The Senator should be the face of his campaign, telling the people of Mississippi that not only is he the most qualified, but he is hungry to continue serving and not a pawn of the Barbours, as his detractors have successfully but unjustly charged.
We have no doubt that Mr. Cochran feels the call to public service and is willing and capable, but voters need to hear it from him and see him.
Although no spry 40-something, his loyal supporters want to see him, no matter what insulting barbs about age are thrown from the other side.
Mr. Cochran will tell you he represents all three million Mississippians, not just a faction. His Washington is a lot like the Washington of the Founders where compromise was necessary.
Mr. Cochran is a Senator for all of us, while his opponent has sworn allegiance to out-of-state special interest groups like Club for Growth that together have gifted nearly $5 million.
Mr. Cochran stands for Mississippi. His opponent stands with a national political agenda - some of it such as reducing the $18 trillion national debt all fine and good.
Sen. Cochran has made certain that our industries, universities and local governments have received their fair share of federal funds, a part of the budget that if eliminated entirely wouldn't come close to balancing the budget.
Sen. Cochran has been attacked for Katrina assistance. The Coast would be a desolate wasteland were it not for Sen. Thad Cochran, but a lot of voters down there forgot that Tuesday.
Sen. Cochran has produced for Mississippi consistently in three major areas:
1.) He fought to make sure Mississippi got its fair share of federal spending, whether for University Medical Center, our research universities (Ole Miss, Mississippi State, USM and Jackson State), our military facilities (Keesler AFB, NAS Meridian, Columbus AFB, the Sea Bee Base at Gulfport, the Army Corps of Engineers at Vicksburg and Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg), Stennis Space Center and our defense contractors like Ingalls Shipyard, Airbus in Columbus and many, many more.
2.) As we said, his leadership resulted in Mississippi having maximum flexibility in how to spend the special Katrina disaster assistance funds. That made money get to families and businesses faster and helped the Coast and other areas in South Mississippi recover more quickly and completely.
Further, the state's excellent stewardship of federal dollars led to rave reviews by the federal General Accounting Office and the Inspectors General of federal departments. Our systems were termed "models" to be followed in future disasters.
3.) He understands agriculture and has fought for Mississippi's farmers. It's no secret Midwestern agriculture has different interests than Southern farmers, and the Midwest has had more votes in Congress than us. But Sen. Cochran fought hard to get us fair treatment, and he has done it very successfully.
The record high GOP turnout of more than 300,000 voters - and counting - bodes well for the future of conservatism when we have our statewide, legislative and county elections.
Smaller, limited government is the way and Sen. Cochran needs to tell us he's on board with that.
With a GOP takeover of the Senate, he becomes chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, which is enormous for a poor state like Mississippi.
The McDaniel camp is clearly energized, and his DC-based allies will be doubling down over the next three weeks.
Cochran supporters will either be shocked into voting June 24 or Mississippi will elect an inexperienced wildcatter.
Low voter margins for Cochran on the Coast, a huge win for McDaniel in his home county of Jones - a 10,000-vote margin - and a lopsided McDaniel victory in the highly transient Memphis suburb of DeSoto, kept Cochran from winning outright Tuesday.
Strong Northeast Jackson and Madison County support and a sweep of the Delta kept Cochran in the picture.
Cochran's people will need to show up June 24. Voters by and large now know both candidates, the good, the bad and the ugly.
Our state hasn't seen a campaign the likes of which we'll see over the next three weeks as the national media swarm.
Voters are sick of negative television ads and the robocalls. Reset and put Mr. Cochran's stellar record on display.
Talk about changing the failed policies that are ruining our country, giving real examples and hope to Americans.
Tuesday's results are no mandate. Both candidates now have another chance to present their case to voters. If the Cochran campaign makes the necessary tweaks, the Senator can emerge victorious.
In short, the campaign simply needs to remind voters why they've voted for Mr. Cochran for so many years, putting his record on display at every opportunity. But mostly, his campaign needs to let Mr. Cochran redeem his reputation as "gentleman Thad."
There is no substitute for boots on the ground, door-to-door grassroots politics. And Republicans shouldn't be ashamed of courting Democrats (who see the light) either.
No one can take issue with how well Thad has served Mississippi, but the real issue is the next six years. Mississippi needs Thad Cochran's experience and his seniority in the United States Senate to help restore our nation to prosperity.