The Tea Party Express sent out an email to supporters on Saturday blasting rock-ribbed Republican Sen. Thad Cochran (MS) as insufficiently conservative. Talking Points Memo reported that the far-right pressure group claims to have several Republicans “in the cross-hairs,” but singled out Cochran — a 36-year veteran of the Senate — for special scorn.
The fundraising email sought donations in support of Cochran’s challenger, Rep. Chris McDaniel (R-MS). The group calls Republicans it deems to be too moderate RINOs, Republicans In Name Only, and has made a mission of removing them from office.
“While many of the RINO Republican U.S. Senators that are in the cross-hairs of their more conservative Republican primary challengers have tried to shore-up their right flank by at least trying to portray an image that they are conservative,” said the email, “Senator Cochran has not followed that savvy political strategy.”
The group was offended that the 76-year-old Cochran was dismissive of the Tea Party cause at a fundraising event this week. When a reporter asked him why he has distanced himself from the far-right Tea Party, Cochran replied, “I said that I didn’t know much about the Tea Party, and I didn’t. I read newspaper articles about them, and that’s about all I knew. It’s kind of like Will Rogers. All he said he knew was what he read in the papers.”
In its email, the Tea Party Express complained that Cochran has “remained defiant and even dismissive of the Tea Party movement.”
“This strategy didn’t work for former Senator Dick Lugar of Nebraska [sic],” they warned, “and it will not work for Senator Cochran!”
Lugar (R) was beaten in the Indiana Republican primary by Tea Party challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Mourdock’s extreme views, however, caused him to lose in the general election to now-Sen. Joe Donnelly (D).
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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