Tea Party Express Makes First 2014 Endorsement: McDaniel Over Cochran

The Tea Party Express came to Jackson Nov. 5 to endorse Chris McDaniel to defeat U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

The Tea Party Express came to Jackson Nov. 5 to endorse Chris McDaniel to defeat U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. Photo by Trip Burns.

— The California-based Tea Party Express came to the Mississippi Capitol this morning to announce that it is endorsing state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican from Jones County, to replace long-time Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in the U.S. Senate.

Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the Tea Party Express, compared McDaniel favorably to congressional Tea Party darlings Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah. McDaniel will empower the Tea Party to break up the “good old boy network” of entrenched Republicans such as Cochran, thus “sanitizing the U.S. government,” Kremer said.

McDaniel, chairman of the Mississippi Senate Conservative Coalition, is a “true constitutional conservative,” Kremer added. “… He believes in state’s rights.”

The endorsement underscores a growing rift between Republican moderates and the far-right wing of the GOP, represented by the Tea Party. The right-wing of the party sees any negotiation or diplomacy as a negative, and they continue to push for drawing hard lines beyond which they refuse to go. Those hard lines were evident in the recent 16-day partial federal government shutdown, which cost the U.S. economy $24 billion and came dangerously close to the United States defaulting on debts it had already incurred.

Republican stalwarts such as strategist Karl Rove do not see the Tea Party’s tactics—which often take the form of GOP party infighting instead of mounting campaigns against Democrats—as a winning strategy. Nevertheless, the Tea Party faithful seem to see themselves as the only true representatives of the American people.

“We believe if you want to effect change you have to change the players,” Kremer said.

She confirmed that her organization’s fight was not against Democrats so much as it was with old-guard Republicans such as Cochran, who has represented Mississippi since 1978. “They waved the white flag of surrender,” to reopen the federal government instead of defunding the Affordable Care Act, Kremer said. “It’s time for (Cochran) to retire.”

Cochran has yet to announce his intentions to run in 2014, fueling speculation that the 75-year-old senior senator will retire at the completion of his current term.

For his part, McDaniel conjured the ghost of former President Ronald Reagan, whom McDaniel said he first encountered when he was 14, setting the stage for his own political career.

“What’s wrong with drawing a line in the sand and saying, ‘Enough,’” McDaniels asked rhetorically during his brief statement. The federal government is doing too much, he added, and America is begging for real leadership.

“Adults have to enter the room to salvage the government,” McDaniels said, reversing the meme moderate Republicans have used to distinguish themselves from young Tea Party extremists.

McDaniels is the first endorsement of the Tea Party Express for the 2014 mid-term congressional elections.

Comments

justjess 5 months, 2 weeks ago

These extreme right-wing Tea Party folks are really on a tear. Ted Cruz can thank himself for causing the Gov. shutdown which cost tax payers 24 Billion Dollars. Yes, that figure really sounds "Conservative" and "Fiscally Responsible".

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donnaladd 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Their press release just in about today's endorsement, verbatim:

Tea Party Express Endorses Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate

Jackson, MS – Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, endorsed Senator Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate today in Jackson, Mississippi.

Tea Party Express’ Chairman Amy Kremer said, “Tea Party Express is excited to endorse Senator Chris McDaniel. He is the kind of promising conservative leader that is desperately needed in Washington, D.C. McDaniel has shown unparalleled leadership in fighting for Mississippians against Obamacare and has donated his time and talents to defending his constituents against burdensome taxes and regulations."

“McDaniel will face Senator Thad Cochran in the primary. Senator Cochran has served Mississippi with honor, but it has come time to send some fresh blood and ideas to D.C.,” Kremer said. “Washington has become a basin of failed solutions to address the growing debt and anemic economic growth. McDaniel has the passion and zeal to get things done and fight for what is right,” Kremer concluded.

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