Editor’s Note: From the latest in election news, to Capitol Hill wrangling and internal party movements, the Republican Report brings you the biggest news of the week from inside the Grand Old Party. Email [email protected] with any tips to include in this report.
On Tuesday night Republican incumbent Thad Cochran pulled off an unexpected win in the Mississippi Republican primary. For weeks the Representative has been trailing Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel in the polls, and yet managed to bring in 50.8 percent of the vote, taking the election with a margin of little more than 6,000 votes. Political observers are crediting this surprise win with some ingenuity on the part of Cochran’s campaign, as well as some much needed help from football legend Brett Favre.
Following the initial Republican primary on June 3rd, which pitted Cochran against McDaniel in a run off, the party establishment in Washington began an all hands on deck effort to keep their guy’s seat. The Chamber of Commerce dedicated $700,000 to Cochran’s race, and launched an absolutely sensational commercial featuring Brett Favre, which you can watch below.
“I’ve learned through football that strong leadership makes the difference between winning and losing. And when it comes to our state’s future, trust me: Mississippi can win and win big with Thad Cochran,” Favre says in the commercial. “Thad Cochran always delivers, just like he did during Katrina.”
Cochran also had enlisted the help of Republican heavyweights, Senator John McCain and Governor Phil Bryant, who stumped for Cochran. Of course, all this celebrity, and most crucially Farve’s involvement was necessary for Cochran to combat the Tea Party festival McDaniel’s camp had been holding. Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Josh Duggar from “19 Kids and Counting” all spent the past few leading the Tea Party Express in support of McDaniel.
- Colorado Republicans chose Congressman Bob Beauprez as the party’s nominee for governor in Tuesday primary. He will face of against incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper, who has lost popularity in the past year. Beauprez beat out former Congressman Tim Tancredo, who many believed had a chance at victory, as well as lesser candidates Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Senator Mike Kopp.
- David Young, a former chief of staff to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley won the Republican Party nomination for the 3rd District in Iowa. The convention nominating process went all the way to a fifth ballot, pitting the novice Young against state Senator Brad Zaun. Young will go on to challenge Democratic state Senator Staci Appel in the general election for this open seat.
- In Oklahoma, Representative James Lankford sailed to victory in the Republican primary for the open Senate seat being left vacant by a retiring Tom Coburn. Lankford is the fifth ranking Republican in the House, and his win over state legislator T.W. Shannon, who had been endorsed by Ted Cruz, is another good sign for establishment Republicans in Washington.
- Speaker John Boehner donated over $1 million to the House Republican campaign fund this week, bringing his total in donations to Republican races to $17 million so far in 2014. Independent of his own campaign coffers, Boehner has helped raise $88 million for the GOP midterms, giving money to over half of the party’s incumbents. In August the speaker is expected to go on a last-minute 14-state fundraising tour to hopefully squeeze some more money out for November’s elections.
- Governor Chris Christie gave a keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s annual Road to Majority conference. The potential presidential contender discussed issues surrounding drug addiction in a pro-life, faith based context. He emphasized rehabilitation, and stated his support for sentencing reform for first time drug offenders.
- This week court documents were released accusing popular Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin of illegally coordinating fundraising efforts to help his own election and the elections of some close friends. Walker responded by buying $250,000 worth of ad space on television to keep public support in his corner. “The accusation of any wrongdoing written in the complaint by the office of a partisan Dem DA by me or by my campaign is categorically false,” a tweet from the Governor’s account stated.