Another primary, another loss for the Tea Party. Republican Sen. Thad Cochran from Mississippi won a close runoff election with analysts saying the result probably keeps the seat safe for the GOP.
JOY REDMOND, WLBT ANCHOR: "Cochran triumphed over Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel with 51 percent of the vote."
ROSLYN ANDERSON, WLBT REPORTER: "There were tense moments as the numbers again were very close throughout the night."
Cochran greeted his supporters late Tuesday night. He spoke for less than two minutes but immediately started talking jobs and the military in an apparent shift of focus to the general election. (Via C-SPAN)
An election Cochran is likely more than relieved to get started for more reasons than simply surviving this one. The primary was pretty bizarre.
In mid-May, police say a political activist who maintained a blog advocating for Cochran's defeat snuck into a Madison nursing home and took pictures of Cochran's wife. Rose Cochran has lived in the home since 2000 and suffers from dementia. (Via The Clarion-Ledger)
Then remarks about other significant primary elections in early June led some to question if 76-year-old Cochran was getting too old for the job. (Via Fox News)
SEN. COCHRAN, MISSISSIPPI (R): "I don't know what you're talking about. What happened in Virginia?"
Cochran's camp later told Fox News the senator was being sarcastic and was tired of answering the same questions over and over.
As for the eventual primary win, it appears Democrats actually helped put Cochran over the top.
JAY WEINER, COCHRAN SUPPORTER: "People came together — African-Americans, Democrats, the Republicans — and made sure a moderate centrist won the election." (Via WJTV)
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "He has for decades been reaching across the aisle here. That is why he had such a Tea Party challenge, but in the end, it ironically saved him because of the system here."
Mississippi law allows for any voter to cast a ballot in primary elections regardless of your party affiliation if you intend to support that same party in the future at the general election. It's a practically unenforceable law, and Cochran reached out to black voters for support ahead of the runoff. (Via The Wire)
Conservative news site Breitbart reports McDaniel is considering a legal challenge because of the law.
Many analysts believed Democratic nominee Travis Childers would've had a better shot in the general election against McDaniel, but the established incumbent Cochran will be much tougher to beat. As The Daily Beast put it, "Like Lazarus, Thad Cochran rose from the dead on Tuesday in Mississippi."
The GOP establishment did well in other races that once seemed like possibilities for the Tea Party as New York Congressman Richard Hanna won renomination and Congressman James Lankford won the nod to run for Senate in Oklahoma. (Via Politico)