State Sen. Chris McDaniel, a Republican from Ellisville, is making an announcement this weekend about his political future, the blog Mississippi PEP reports.
McDaniel, a self-styled fiscal and values Tea Party conservative, has been rumored for some time to have his eyes on senior U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran's seat. Anyone looking for proof of that needn't look any further an McDaniel's Wikipedia page, which was updated more than 50 times in April alone -- way more than a Mississippi state senator needs to (see below).
Cochran, whose conservative street cred is solid, but he has been criticized for being insufficiently right wing. Cochran has held the seat since the late 1970s and even at age 75 can probably hold on to the position until he gets good and damn ready to step aside.
"We are in difficult times. Our state and country are suffering from a lack of confidence in our current leaders. Our Republican Party is in the process of reinvesting in the principles that made us who we are, and that has not been an easy time," said McDaniel, who wasn't even a year old when Cochran first went to Congress in 1973, said through a press statement posted on the PEP blog.
“I hope my decision will aid in bringing us back to agreement on the values we all support and hold dear, and give Mississippians the ability to move forward into the future with a purpose of reclaiming those values for our children.”
I don't know McDaniel well, so it's hard to tell what his end game is. It's possible that McDaniel is positioning himself to the first to declare his intentions in case Cochran retires. In doing so, McDaniel also gets first crack at deep-pocketed Tea Party Mississippians who'll no doubt be getting hit up by several Republicans in case a Cochran departure yields a packed GOP primary.
Or, he's positioning himself for a primary run at Cochran because someone has convinced him (erroneously) that with the right people behind him, he could take down a wounded Cochran.
McDaniel might also just be displaying a bit of bravado to run for a statewide office in 2015 as the kid who had the cahones to lock horns with Thad.
We'll know for sure when he makes the announcement in Ellisville on Thursday, Oct. 17.