HOUSTON – Incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran appears to have taken Chickasaw County as one of his early election night victories taking 52 percent of the ballots cast in the Republican run-off Tuesday.
The actual margins saw GOP challenger Chris McDaniel garner 721 votes or 47.47 percent to Cochran’s 798. There were 1,526 ballots cast in Chickasaw County or roughly 13 percent of the 11,719 eligible voters Tuesday.
There were still 106 absentee ballots to be counted in Chickasaw County Tuesday night.
In the June 3 primary election, Cochran garnered 54 percent or 685 votes to McDaniel’s 567 votes or 44.8 percent.
Final statewide election results will be posted on this website as they become available.
The winner of the Republican Runoff will now face Democratic Senatorial candidate Travis Childers who easily won his state primary with 74.1 percent of the vote June 3. Childers took 87.97 percent of the vote in Chickasaw County.
Tea Party favorite McDaniel of Ellisville held an ever-so-slight slight lead over Cochran in Mississippi’s Republican senatorial primary. The two candidates would be forced into a runoff by a little-known third candidate – Thomas Carey – who collected a mere 4,749 votes
To win the nomination, a candidate must garner a majority of the vote. As of Wednesday morning 99.5 percent of the state’s precincts had officially reported results.
If neither candidate reaches the majority threshold, McDaniel and Cochran, who has never received less than 60 percent of the vote in his five re-election efforts, will meet in a June 24 runoff in what has been a bruising Republican primary. Tuesday’s race was one of the closest major statewide races in history.
With 1,823 of 1,832 percents reporting, McDaniel had 151,842 votes, or 49.57 percent, to Cochran’s 149,714, or 48.88 percent. Hernando real estate agent Thomas Casey garnered just enough votes – 4,749, or 1.55 percent – to place the outcome in doubt.
McDaniel’s showing in the June 3 primary apparently jolted Cochran into campaign mode and the six-term incumbent hit the road to get the vote out Tuesday.
Cochran did not come to Chickasaw County to campaign. McDaniel visited with diners at Moore’s Restaurant and even picked up a catfish dinner from owner Pap Moore, June 12.
The Cochran campaign portrayed the 42-year-old McDaniel as a potential embarrassment for the state on the national level and claimed his actual votes in the Senate did not match his often over-the-top conservative rhetoric.
The McDaniel campaign chided Cochran as a Washington big spender, though others praised him for his ability to garner funds for the state, particularly to help rebuild the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
As expected McDaniel ran strong in his home county of Jones and around south Mississippi and traditional GOP DeSoto County in the June 3 primary. He also ran well on the Gulf Coast.
Cochran’s power base appeared to be the Delta and Tupelo. He won the majority of Northeast Mississippi counties in the primary.
Cochran, a Pontotoc County native, was first elected to the U.S. House in 1972, representing the Jackson area and southwest Mississippi. In 1978 he won with a plurality of the vote the Senate seat left open by the retirement of longtime incumbent Jim Eastland. In 1984, he won re-election with about 60 percent of the vote against former Gov. William Winter.
After that, the congenial Cochran never faced a serious challenge – until McDaniel announced his intention to run for the post in the fall of 2013.