The Club for Growth, the conservative group that prominently backed Senator Thad Cochran’s (R-Mississippi) primary foe, State Senator Chris McDaniel, was ready to congratulate Cochran on his surprising Tuesday night victory even as McDaniel himself refuses to concede.
“We are proud of the effort we made in Mississippi’s Senate race and we congratulate the winner,” the group’s president, Chris Chocola, said in a statement Wednesday morning.
Chocola’s group threw more than $US3.1 million into the effort to defeat Cochran, according to U.S. News. Support from CFG and other conservative groups helped propel McDaniel to a narrow lead in the primary election earlier this month. However, since he did not earn the 50% of the vote necessary to avoid the runoff, he faced Cochran again last night in a race where he was the favourite.
The Club was poised to use Cochran’s expected loss in the runoff as a warning sign to more moderate Republicans across the country. However, with Cochran earning a victory after soliciting support from Democrats and other unusual elements of the electorate in the open runoff, Chocola was left hoping the 76-year-old Cochran “gained a new appreciation of voter frustration” as he serves another six years in office.
“We expect that Senator Cochran and others gained a new appreciation of voter frustration about the threats to economic freedom and national solvency. In light of our experience of the last ten years, we move forward even more confidently than we did the day after the 2004 Pennsylvania primary,” Chocola said.
Chocola then pivoted to draw parallels between McDaniel’s race and another Club defeat in 2004. The defeated candidate, now U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), ultimately won in the end.
“Ten years ago, Club for Growth PAC endorsed and funded a challenge against a long-time U.S. Senator in that Republican primary,” he continued. “The GOP Establishment, from the President of the United States [George W. Bush] on down, came in heavily against our candidate, and he very narrowly lost that election. The state was Pennsylvania. The challenger was Pat Toomey. The incumbent was Arlen Specter. Six years later, Specter switched to the Democratic Party, and Toomey was elected to the U.S. Senate where he now serves with great distinction.”
Chocola finished by touting other conservative victories, “including U.S. Senators Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Tim Scott.”
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