It was a long night in Mississippi and it may not have ended yet. Incumbent Thad Cochran won the republican senate nomination with 50.2% of the vote, barely edging out tea party savant Chris McDaniel. To win the race, Cochran needed a lot of help and there are a few people saying some of it might have been questionable.
Proving politics do make strange bedfellows and desperate politicians will suck up to anyone in a crunch, Senator Cochran, spent the last days of an ugly, bitter, campaign appealing for help from democrats. Apparently he got just enough of it to win, but McDaniel is screeching foul and threatening to challenge the results.
According to Mississppi's quirky election laws a democrat can cast a ballot in the republican primary, or runoff if, he or she didn't vote in the democratic race and intends to vote for the same person in November. Therein lies the rub. If any of the democrats who voted for Cochran in the runoff had voted in the democratic primary a few weeks ago, or, in theory, don't plan to vote for him in November, their ballots must be ruled invalid.
McDaniel knew the problem was coming. His campaign workers, some from out of state tea party organizations, stationed themselves as poll watchers in precincts all over the place. NBC quoted him as saying, "Before this race is over, we have to be absolutely certain that the republican primary was won by republican voters."
Waiting in the wings while the GOP bloodletting continues is democrat and former congressman Travis Childers. At the national level, democratic leaders consider him a strong enough candidate that they were actually pulling for Cochran to lose. They felt McDaniel's toxic rants while hosting a radio talk show and his crude style would make him an easier target than a sitting senator, one who has been running campaigns for over four decades.
The only thing we know for sure at this moment is both candidates pulled out all the stops. McDaniel received major money from groups like, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, the Senate Conservatives Fund, and the Tea Party Patriot Citizens Fund. Cochran got help from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce among others, while dragging John McCain and even former NFL quarterback, Brett Favre into the fray.
In Oklahoma, James Lankford kicked T.W. Shannon's ass in the republican senate primary by winning 57.2% of the vote. Shannon was the tea party's man in the state. A few weeks ago Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin dropped in to endorse him and ultra right wing pac money paid for ads which accused Lankford of committing just about every ideological crime imaginable.
That Lankford won isn't particularly a surprise--that he won without a runoff is. Local speculation is the tea party brain trust diverted money from Shannon's campaign the last couple of weeks because they thought he was a lock to force a runoff, while they knew McDaniel was starting to flounder in Mississippi.
If that was indeed the scenario, it's obvious the rubes on the right still can't figure out how to conduct an accurate pre-election poll.
Actually there were two senate seats up for grabs here yesterday. Shannon and Lankford were dueling over Tom Coburn's soon to be vacated spot. Coburn is retiring early and Lankford will have to run again in two years if he wins in November, which he will. Meanwhile Jim Inhofe was facing four challengers who had about as much name recognition and money as some homeless guy hanging out at the abandoned bus station on Walker Street. He won 87.7% of the vote, meaning we're stuck with the ruthless son of a bitch for another six years. The democrats couldn't find anyone to run against him in November.
Lankford will face either state senator, Connie Johnson, or Jim Rogers. Johnson received 43.8% of the vote while Rogers was able to get 35.3%.
Johnson, from Oklahoma City, has held her seat in the OK senate since 2005. Rogers, who is basically a recluse, has been thrashed in state elections many times over many years.
Yes, that is what democrats have sunk to in Oklahoma. 35 plus percent of us voted for a 79 year old perennial loser with no legislative experience who refuses to debate, or even make public appearances. Rogers' wikipedia page says that while he claims to have been a professor at a number of universities he won't name any of them.
So there it is. We learned a couple of things from yesterday. One, getting endorsed by Sarah Palin doesn't do you any good. She backed both Shannon and McDaniel. In fact the only tea party guy to win lately was David Brat in Virginia and he didn't get any help from her, or the tea party money people. Second, democrats in Oklahoma are about as viable and relevant as day old road kill.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why The Good Lord invented martinis.
sic vita est