Cochran and McDaniel talk Senate race - - Jackson, MS

Senator Cochran: "The Tea Party is something I don't really know a lot about"

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Traveling on a bus branded "Thad for Mississippi", Senator Thad Cochran made about half a dozen campaign stops Monday. One at Nucor Steel in Flowood.

"Trying to be sure that we understand the problems confronting us," Cochran told reporters. "Come up with good answers to what we can to assure a bright future for our people."

When asked about his opponent Chris McDaniel, Cochran said, "Really haven't looked at his characteristics." He continued, "I'm just running my campaign, based on my qualifications to continue to serve as a United States Senator."

Chris McDaniel responded while at the State Capitol.

"The idea that he doesn't know me or is not paying attention goes to show he hasn't been in the state very often," said McDaniel.

He was quick to point to what he thinks is an absence of the long-time senator.

"Anyone who refuses to balance the budget is out of touch," explained McDaniel. "Anyone who votes for tax increases is out of touch. The people of this state have demanded that he be a conservative. To that extend, yes his record is not conservative. So he's out of touch."

Cochran said, "He's wrong. He's flat wrong. I'm as in touch with the people of Mississippi as an elected official can be."

McDaniel has strong support from outside conservative groups. Some of those have put support behind candidates like Ted Cruz in the past. It's the first time Cochran will have a Tea Party opponent.

"The Tea Party is something I don't really know a lot about," Cochran admitted. "It's a free country. We have open opportunities for people to participate in the election process."

When asked about his reaction, McDaniel responded, 'It's a shame because the Tea Party is a mass movement of people that really care about this country."

McDaniel is pushing for the opportunity to debate Cochran before the June primary.

At the start of the year, Cochran had $1.1 million in his campaign account. McDaniel had $390,794.

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