Six-term Senator Thad Cochran secured a victory over Tea Party challenger Daniel McAdams on Tuesday. Thad Cochran, an establishment Republican, used an underhanded tactic to propel him to victory in a race he won only by 6,400 votes- he recruited Democratic-leaning voters across the state. This is legal in Mississippi, which uses an open primary system in which voters can cast their vote in a party primary as long as they have not voted in a different party’s primary. Still, the outright appeal to Democratic voters has left Mississippi Tea Party supporters outraged.
Craig Shirley, a conservative columnist and biographer of Ronald Reagan, described the nature of the GOP establishment win on Wednesday to Yahoo! News:
The establishment crossed the line last night.
This is a win for the establishment, but it’s a win with an asterisk, because it’s so tainted that it might be one of those things where they’re going to be sorry they ever won the runoff in Mississippi.
The win was a costly one for the Establishment: outside groups on both sides flooded the state with money, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell hosted a fundraiser for Cochran that raised $800,000.
Joe Nosef, Mississippi’s Republican Party chairman, lamented how nasty the race became, saying:
What made it worse, I think, is it just seemed more personal than it would normally be, than it needed it to be and for me the thing that upset me the most is we didn’t just have the candidates attacking themselves, we had candidates attacking the party.
In ConservativeHQ.com chairman Richard Vigurie’s opinion, Cochran’s tactics, “just threw gasoline onto the flames of the civil war” between the Establishment GOP and the Tea Party.
Advertisement - story continues below
What do you think? Was it acceptable for Cochran to court Democratic voters to vote in the Republican primary? Or was it an example of the Republican establishment engaging in dirty politics against the Tea Party?