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Thad Cochran Gives Brutal Answer When Asked If He'll Debate Chris McDaniel

"I'm not running to be a member of the debate team....not to have some made-up hokey high-school-looking debate, when there is nothing to debate.

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Incumbent Republican Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is refusing to debate his runoff opponent, state senator Chris McDaniel. Cochran says "there's nothing to debate" with McDaniel.

"First of all, I'm not running to be on a debate team. I'm running for a vacancy that's going to exist in the U.S. Senate this year," Cochran said to WAPT's Bert Case. "That's what I'm trying to do — get elected to serve in the U.S. Senate. I think the pathway to that is the outline."

"So you won't debate him?" Case followed up.

"I'm not running to be a member of the debate team," Cochran repeated with a laugh. "I'm running for U.S. Senate. I'll debate in Washington on the floor of the Senate, and in the appropriations committee for Mississippi's interest. That's what I'm running to achieve, not to have some made-up hokey high school-looking debate, when there is nothing to debate," Cochran said.

A recent poll showed the Tea Party challenger McDaniel with 3% lead over incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran heading into the June 24 primary runoff on June 24.

John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald / MCT

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) greets Ingalls Shipbuilding employees outside of the Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard on Friday, June 13, 2014. Cochran is in a runoff against State Sen. Chris McDaniel for the Republican nomination for his seat.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at

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