On Oct. 16, as the House and Senate sheepishly reopened the government and raised the debt limit, political reporters opened their email to find an unsolicited invitation. Someone named Chris McDaniel, a 41-year-old Misssissippi state senator, would soon “end speculation” over his plans to run for the U.S. Senate. On Oct. 17, sure enough, McDaniel stood before the Ellisville, Miss. courthouse and confirmed
that he would challenge Sen. Thad Cochran, who’s sat behind a Senate desk since 1979.
“I am reminded of that first revolution,” said McDaniel, flanked by supporters and a Patton
-sized American flag. “I stand here with you, with the silent majority of Americans who believe we can retake this country, who still believe in liberty.”
Cochran, the first Republican to win a direct election to one of Mississippi’s Senate seats, did not vote for the Affordable Care Act. But he didn’t vote with
Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee against the House’s continuing resolution—a procedural vote that would have prevented debate on the funding and thus blocked Democrats from adding back funding for the law. He voted with
most Senate Republicans on the shutdown-ending bill. So conservatives want to replace him. McDaniel’s announcement was echoed by an immediate $1 million ad buy from the Washington, D.C.–based Club for Growth, introducing Mississippians to McDaniel as an antidote
to (unnamed) “career politicians bankrupting our country.”