6/24/14, "Mississippi’s revolution may be just starting," Politico, Alexander Burns, Jackson, Miss.
|Miss. St. Sen. McDaniel at rally|
In this deeply Republican, nearly one-party state, the race between Cochran and conservative challenger Chris McDaniel has torn open long-developing divisions within the GOP power structure. The six-term senator and his allies, led by former Gov. Haley Barbour and an army of entrenched figures in Washington and the state capital, have maintained a tight grip on political power in Mississippi since it became a Republican state in the first place.
Win or lose this week, conservatives here predict that Mississippi’s state elections in 2015 will bring another reckoning for the party. The reality that McDaniel has come so close to unseating Cochran may herald a larger-scale shift in culture for a state where seniority has long been king.
The brimming activist rage over Cochran’s efforts to win Democratic crossover votes this week has added an extra shot of determination to the insurgents’ efforts. Feeling that they have been opposed at every turn by power brokers in Jackson, including every major sitting GOP official in the state, they are looking to the 2015 elections as the next chance to upend state politics.
“If Chris is victorious, and I think he will be on Tuesday, it’s a game-changer and you look at your options,” said state Sen. Michael Watson, McDaniel’s closest ally in the state Senate. “It’s not just this United States Senate race. I think it’s a dynamic you’re going to see continue going forward to redefine the Republican Party in Mississippi.”
Watson said he would be open to challenging one of the state’s Republican statewide officials next year, though he declined to say which one. In addition to Gov. Phil Bryant, Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and auditor Stacey Pickering are among the elected Republicans facing reelection.
On the sidelines of a McDaniel rally last week, conservative state Sen. Tony Smith predicted turbulent times ahead.
“I think Chris’s campaign has awakened a lot of Mississippians to the fact that some of our elected officials, maybe, are not as conservative as we would have thought,” Smith said. “With Chris’s victory, I think you’re going to see opportunities for others and I think you’re going to see a lot going on in 2015.”...
The ruptures within the Mississippi GOP are as cultural as they are ideological; they have as much to do with tone and temperament as they do with substantive divisions over policy. McDaniel has attacked his opponents — and the Barbours specifically — for representing Mississippians who are “relatively wealthy or elite in status,” while losing touch with the priorities of voters in places like his Jones County home.
McDaniel’s campaign manager is a fellow member of the conservative caucus, state Sen. Melanie Sojourner; several other legislators have traveled with McDaniel on his campaign bus, including Watson, Smith and state Sen. Angela Hill. On the night of the June 3 primary election, Watson addressed McDaniel’s victory rally and hailed the candidate as a leader who will “stand up to guys like Haley Barbour.”
And McDaniel’s voters are openly incensed at the candidate’s treatment at the hands of party leaders. Madison retiree Bobbie Jean Mullins, a former county bookkeeper who supports McDaniel, described the Cochran-backing Bryant as a “very good Christian man, but I would have appreciated him more had he said, ‘May the best man win,’ instead of coming out for Thad Cochran.”
As for Haley Barbour, Mullins said: “I’d like to kick his tail.”...
Republican National Committeeman Henry Barbour, who has faced tea party criticism for heading up a pro-Cochran super PAC, said he doesn’t see the in-state support for an insurrection in 2015. “If somebody wants to take on somebody in a state race, they’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. They’re going to have to raise the money,” said Barbour, the former governor’s nephew. “I don’t know that any of [McDaniel’s allies] have demonstrated an ability to do that.”
Should activists want to come for his RNC seat when he faces reelection in 2016, Barbour said he’s prepared to fight: “If somebody wants to oppose me in a couple years, should I decide to run again for national committeeman, that’s their business. Have at it.”
Still, at least for now, there’s a mood of unrest in the rank and file of the Mississippi Republican Party. It may be enough to power McDaniel to victory against one of the lions of state politics this week — and if it remains to be seen whether it’ll last into the 2015 elections, conservatives say they’re determined to find out.
Laura Van Overschelde, who chairs the Mississippi Tea Party, said the Senate race had already punctured the myth that incumbents like Cochran are “unbeatable.”
“This is pretty earth-shaking. It could change things a lot,” she said. “People are hungry to find new leaders and we haven’t seen the courage in other Republican leaders that we’ve seen in Chris McDaniel.”" image above, caption, "McDaniel’s campaign has challenged the state's GOP orthodoxy," ap
Comment: Henry Barbour's response epitomizes the racketeers known as the GOP E. He says big deal, nobody in Mississippi has the money to touch us. If you don't like his high position at the RNC he says, "Have at it," ie Try and catch me. They have no feeling for the country, no apology for destroying a generation of work and sacrifice. The democrat party is the only functioning political party in the US today. The Republican Party ceased to exist after Nov. 2008. Its only concern since Nov. 2008 has been to silence conservatives and the Tea Party, to elect democrats and pass far left policies. The Barbours and the Bushes (meaning the RNC) hold the same views as far left democrats on all major issues.