By Lynn R. Mitchell
Results from the Mississppi and Oklahoma primaries Tuesday night show losses by tea party candidates. Political pundit Gregg Hilton wrote about Mississippi:
SENATOR COCHRAN WINS: In another huge setback for the Tea Party, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) has very narrowly won renomination by defeating State Sen. Chris McDaniel. AP has declared him the victor by a 50.9% to 49.1% margin.
McDaniel was ahead of Cochran in the primary, but that was reversed in tonight’s run-off.
Practically all of the polls were predicting a McDaniel victory. The liberal Daily Kos claims “We will see some real ugliness in the coming days, as the Tea Party realizes that alleged-RINO Cochran pulled out an unexpected victory with a big assist from black voters.”
Cochran, 76, has served for 36 years on Capitol Hill. McDaniel had the support of the Club for Growth which spent over $3 million on the race. The Senate Conservatives Fund spent $1.3 million, and Tea Party Patriots kicked in $800,000.
FreedomWorks backed McDaniel with $400,000, and he also had endorsements from RedState, Tea Party Express, Mark Levin and Glenn Beck.
McDaniel promised to be a conservative in the mold of Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Mike Lee (UT), and criticized the incumbent for having a 75% score from the American Conservative Union.
Cochran’s victory is a fascinating comeback from the original primary, and this will probably be a case study in get out the vote techniques for years to come.
Meanwhile, in the Oklahoma primary, the tea party was rocked back on their heels again, as Gregg writes:
VICTORY: In a setback for the Tea Party, Congressman James Lankford (OK) has easily won the GOP nomination for the US Senate. The seat is being vacated by Sen. Tom Coburn (R). All of the polls were wrong and Lankford defeated former House Speaker TW Shannon by 20% (56% to 36%).
Shannon was endorsed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sarah Palin, RedState, FreedomWorks, the Senate Conservatives Fund, Tea Party Express, Tea Party Patriots, the American Conservative Union and Citizens United.
Lankford is Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, the fifth-ranking leadership post. This is a very senior position for a second-term House member. Lankford will now be the next Senator as Romney carried the state with 67 percent in 2012.
Many will continue to analyze in the days to come….