National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Jerry Moran is not ready to commit to giving Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel an endorsement if he wins the state’s Republican primary.
Asked on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” Friday about whether the NRSC would endorse McDaniel, the intra-party challenger to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, Moran, a Republican senator from Kansas, only said he expected Cochran to win what has become an intensely nasty and personal fight between the two candidates.
“I’ll leave that for another day,” Moran said, when asked if the NRSC would support McDaniel’s bid if he were the nominee.
If national Republicans do not back a McDaniel’s general-election bid, it could open the door for Democrats in a deep-red state. Former center-left Rep. Travis Childers is expected to secure the nomination, and Democrats believe he could compete against McDaniel.
Without the support and resources of the NRSC, Childers’ odds could improve even further. That would be a huge problem for the GOP as it has sights set on taking a Senate majority — an endeavour that will require swinging six seats while holding on to all the ones they already control.
Moran’s comments come after local authorities have made multiple arrests in the past week of activists who allegedly conspired to obtain a photo of Cochran’s unsuspecting wife in a nursing home for use in a blog post attacking the senator. In his interview Friday, Moran hinted he was upset about the personal attacks on Cochran and his wife and expected more news to emerge about the photo.
“What I would say is that the scandal that’s brewing there — there will be a lot of news out of Mississippi over the coming days,” Moran said. “I would say that Sen. Cochran is a highly respected, great representative for the state of Mississippi, has represented them well, and he has high favourable numbers in Mississippi. The only way you can defeat someone like Sen. Cochran in Mississippi is this kind of personal aspect.”
MSNBC host Chuck Todd asked Moran twice more if the NRSC would support a McDaniel bid. Both times, Moran said he would have to look at all the facts of the scandal before addressing the question.
The Cochran campaign has accused the McDaniel campaign of being involved in the scheme to obtain the photo, a charge the McDaniel team denies. Cochran’s team has pointed to the McDaniel campaign’s shifting story about when it found out about the video, as well as its ties with some of the people arrested.
The full clip of Moran’s appearance on MSNBC is below. His comments on the Mississippi Senate race begin around the 5:00 mark:
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