After an endorsement from the biggest names in Mississippi Republican politics, Sen. Thad Cochran has chosen Kirk Sims as campaign manager for his competitive re-election next year.
Sims, currently Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant's chief of staff, will lead Cochran's bid for a seventh term, the Cochran campaign announced Tuesday.
According to a source with direct knowledge of the situation, Cochran received phone calls endorsing Sims from Sen. Roger Wicker (who is also Sims' father-in-law), former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Sen. Trent Lott.
"I welcome Kirk Sims to my campaign team, and appreciate his willingness to serve as campaign manager,” Cochran said in a statement. “Kirk has demonstrated a commitment to the interests and the values of the citizens of Mississippi. His background and experience are consistent with my principles. He will be instrumental in the effort to engage and unite the people of our state in a discussion about Mississippi’s bright future.”
Cochran faces his toughest race in 30 years against the tea-party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Since announcing earlier this month that he would seek another term, Cochran has had to ramp up a dormant political operation.
With outside groups actively supporting McDaniel, Cochran allies strongly encouraged him to hire an experienced manager to run the campaign.
The veteran Mississippi operative previously ran Bryant's gubernatorial campaign, served as Bryant's policy director in the lieutenant governor's office and ran Wicker's 2006 House campaign.
For more campaign operative news, read Roll Call's latest Shop Talk column.