Thad Cochran isn’t done in the U.S. Senate after more than 35 years.
In close fashion, the 76-year-old Mississippi Republican defeated primary challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the runoff of a contentious and deeply weird primary election.
Cochran was largely expected to lose Tuesday night. The establishment Republican made a hard campaign push in recent weeks, enlisting Republicans like Sen. John McCain and Brett Favre, and the money of the national committees, to ultimately defeat the less-funded, less-established tea partier.
The exit of Cochran — a champion of pork and dealmaker on major issues like the Farm Bill — would have represented a potential shift in the amount of federal dollars Mississippi receives each year.
The younger McDaniel ran an aggressive outsider campaign, funded by outside groups and focused on conservative principles.