Speed Reads

campaign 2014

Thad Cochran calls primary opponent 'dangerous' and 'extremist'

If you thought Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) would go gentle into that good night, you were sorely mistaken. As the Clarion-Ledger reports:

After months of milquetoast statements and letting surrogates do any campaign trash talking, incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran went on the offensive in Hattiesburg on Tuesday, calling his opponent Chris McDaniel "an extremist" who would hurt Mississippi with indiscriminate cuts to federal spending. [Clarion-Ledger]

Cochran went on to say, "It would be dangerous to have somebody like him elected."

Cochran's team had already signaled that they would attempt to woo Independents and Democrats (who did not vote in their party's primary election) to turn out for Cochran in the run-off, and this seems like the kind of messaging that could do the trick. It is also consistent with recent efforts to cast McDaniel as outside the mainstream.

But this is also a high-stakes move. As others have pointed out, in the likely event that McDaniel wins the run-off, Democrats will now be able to use Cochran's sound bites calling McDaniel an "extremist" in general election ads.