Republican Thad Cochran announced last week he would seek re-election to a seventh term in the U.S. Senate. He faces a Republican primary challenge from state Senator Chris McDaniel who has support from national and local Tea Party groups. Other potential Republican candidates bowed out when Cochran announced, although others could enter the race before the March 1 filing deadline.
Will Democrats run a candidate? Many potential Democratic candidates expressed reluctance to challenge Cochran, but there is some chatter one credible Democrat might qualify for the race in case McDaniel were able to topple Cochran in the primary. Someone like former Congressman Travis Childers could contemplate such a move.
Here would be the scenario: Childers qualifies for the Senate but doesn’t launch a campaign until after the June 3 primary. If Cochran perseveres, Childers withdraws, recognizing Cochran’s general election strength and appeal to Mississippi independents needed to win in November. But if McDaniel pulls an upset and becomes the Republican nominee, Childers starts with 40 percent of the vote and looks to woo independents and dissatisfied Cochran supporters to capture this Republican seat for the Democrats.