Fellow Mississippi Senator Says Thad Cochran is 'Best Bet' to Hold Seat

Cochran, above, trails McDaniel by less than 2,000 votes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Roger Wicker offered encouragement to his home-state colleague, Sen. Thad Cochran, on Wednesday, calling the Mississippi Republican's re-election essential to the party's effort to reclaim the Senate majority.  

"He's our best bet to hold the seat for a Republican majority," Wicker said.  

Asked if Cochran's GOP opponent, Chris McDaniel, would be a viable candidate if he wins the runoff, the Mississippi Republican said, "I think if Thad Cochran is nominated three weeks from now — and I think he will be nominated — I don’t think the Democrats will play in Mississippi, I think they will spend their money elsewhere."  

His comments came hours after Cochran and his tea party opponent were in a virtual tie in the primary for the Republican nomination. McDaniel had a lead of less than 2,000 votes, with 99.8 percent of precincts reporting.  Currently, neither candidate has broken the 50 percent threshold, so it's likely the two will face off again in a June 24 runoff.  

Wicker said he was confident of Cochran's chances of winning in a runoff, especially with a full commitment from the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  

"The NRSC is going to enthusiastically support Sen. Thad Cochran," Wicker said.