By Andrew J. Ireland
WASHINGTON – Richard Viguerie, known as the “funding father” of the conservative movement for his innovative work, says the primary election race results that saw tea-party favorite Chris McDaniel ahead of incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., are “most important.”
In Mississippi’s U.S. Senate primary, neither candidate was able to reach 50 percent of the vote as required by state law to win the nomination, due in part to 1.5 percent of the vote going to the relatively unknown third candidate, Thomas Carey.
McDaniel came out just ahead of Cochran, with a margin of 49.5 percent to 49 percent.
As result, a runoff between Cochran and McDaniel is scheduled for June 24.
Viguerie, the author of “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It,” believes McDaniel is the right man for the job.
Published by WND Books in April, Viguerie’s “Takeover” documents how a century-long civil war within the GOP – a case of Establishment v. Conservative – is building to a climax.
According to Viguerie, Cochran is “one of the least distinguished members of the Senate.” Often associated with pork-barrel projects, “he has spent a 36-year career … feeding at the taxpayer-funded trough instead of fighting for conservative principles.”
In 2010, Citizens Against Government Waste named Cochran the top pork-barrel spender in the Senate with a total of 240 earmarked projects worth $490.2 million.
“Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It” is available now at the WND Superstore.
With Americans weary of government spending and overreach, approval ratings of Congress and the president at historic lows, the time is ripe to change the political landscape, Viguerie contends.
Cochran has been nearly uncontested throughout his time in the Senate.
McDaniel’s campaign was never expected to be a threat, but his strong tea-party backing has brought him into a dead heat with Cochran.
A McDaniel victory would be a big win for the tea party, Viguerie said.
“Of all of the primary races against incumbents this year this was the most important. With few exceptions, almost all of the tea-party victories have come from open races. To beat an incumbent under these circumstances is a huge morale booster for conservatives.” he said.
That said, some fear a more conservative candidate could prove disastrous for Republicans in November. Due to Cochran’s moderate stances, he has built a strong following of Republicans and Democrats in Mississippi. There is a notion that McDaniel would isolate voters, which is especially important as Republicans seek to take a majority in the Senate in November.
But Viguerie insists the GOP establishment claim “that conservatives can’t win” is not true.”
“Voters don’t like establishment Republicans,” he said. “They’re content-free. They don’t have any ideas.”
He says the winning solution is to “talk about big ideas.”
“If you talk about bringing the pork home, that’s how we lose.”
Viguerie believes McDaniel has “ideas and that’s what the voters want.”
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Andrew Ireland is an intern for WND.