Chris McDaniel announces he'll switch races and run for open Mis - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Chris McDaniel announces he'll switch races and run for open Mississippi Senate seat

Wednesday, state Senator Chris McDaniel has announced he is backing out of challenging Roger Wicker and will now run for Senator Thad Cochran's soon-to-be-open Senate seat in the November special election. Source: WLBT Archives Wednesday, state Senator Chris McDaniel has announced he is backing out of challenging Roger Wicker and will now run for Senator Thad Cochran's soon-to-be-open Senate seat in the November special election. Source: WLBT Archives
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A political shake-up happened with Chris McDaniel announcing he will now run for the soon-to-be-open Mississippi Senate seat. That means he will withdraw from the Roger Wicker challenge.

There's been a lingering question of whether Chris McDaniel would switch races like this. In fact, he told us the day of his announcement in Ellisville that he wasn't ruling anything out.

McDaniel won't be on your ballot in June. That's because he's now entering the race for Thad Cochran's open seat. 

READ MORE: Thad Cochran to resign from Senate effective April 1

"By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats' chances of winning the open seat," said McDaniel in a statement. "If we unite the party now and consolidate our resources, we can guarantee Donald Trump will have a fighter who will stand with him."

As you may remember, that special election is non-partisan so Republicans, Democrats, and Independents will all be on the ballot together. The only other candidate who has so far said they will enter that race is Democrat Mike Espy.

RELATED: Mike Espy to run for Thad Cochran's Senate seat

Chris McDaniel supporters gathered at the State Capitol earlier in the day, not to talk about the special election but rather the appointment for Cochran's soon-to-be-open seat.

"We are now requesting Governor Phil Bryant to appoint Chris McDaniel to Thad Cochran's open seat," said Mississippi Tea Party Chairman Laura Van Overschelde.

Bryant said in a statement that he hasn't decided who the appointment will be, but notes he will not be affected by any political group or dynamic.

Cochran's open seat is the same seat McDaniel competed for in the 2014 Republican primary. Those results were later challenged in court and his supporters haven't forgotten it.

"Those people were moved to actually act in 2014," noted Overschelde. "And if Chris McDaniel is on the ballot in November, whichever seat you want to index, they will come out again for him."

Reactions to McDaniel's decision are starting to come in. 

Governor Bryant sent a statement saying, "This opportunistic behavior is a sad commentary for a young man who once had great potential."

Roger Wicker said, "Until Senator McDaniel removes his name from the ballot for this race, we have no choice but to continue our campaign as planned.  Gayle and I are grateful for the outpouring of support we're receiving from all over the state.  We will not take anything for granted and will continue the hard work of once again earning the support of Mississippi voters."

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