Chris McDaniel is running for Senate again. And once again, his candidacy will set up a brutal primary battle for what is considered a safe Senate seat for Republicans.
McDaniel formally announced his bid Wednesday afternoon at his alma mater, Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Mississippi.
“I’m tired of electing people from Mississippi to go to Washington to score points for the other team,” McDaniel said before saying he will help President Trump “drain the swamp.”
McDaniel specifically trained his fire on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Mississippi incumbent Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS), who has received Trump’s endorsement.
“Why do you keep sending the same old men to represent you?” McDaniel said to the crowd. “They’re more concerned about Mitch McConnell than they are you.”
He quipped that “men like Roger Wicker remained eerily silent for the first 24 years of his tenure. Thank god for President Trump—he’s made Roger Wicker a conservative for about three weeks.”
On Monday night, McDaniel teased that he would formally jump into the race during a Facebook Live event. “I’m going to be holding an event, and I think you can probably read between the lines as to why I would be holding an event,” the Mississippi state senator said.
McDaniel previously ran and nearly defeated Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in a contentious runoff in 2014. And his entrance into this year’s race serves as a flashback to last year’s Alabama special election, in which accused pedophile Roy Moore upended establishment choices for the seat, and shockingly lost to a Democrat in the general election.
McDaniel, of course, does not carry the same baggage as Moore, but a challenge from the right of an incumbent could weaken whichever candidate that inevitably emerges in the general election.
This time, McDaniel is pitting himself against Wicker whose seat is deemed safe.
To complicate matters, President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he supports Wicker, just a day before McDaniel formally announced his run.
“I am with him in his re-election all the way!” the president wrote of Wicker.
And shortly after McDaniel's announcement, the Trump campaign issued a formal statement endorsing Wicker to drive the point home. Democratic State Rep. David Baria also decided to throw his hat in the race.
In a recent interview with The Clarion Ledger, McDaniel said that he was still a supporter of the president’s agenda and characterized Wicker as a “swamp creature” with “a 24-year record of liberalism.”
As a former right-wing radio host, McDaniel has a long history of inflammatory comments. He weighed in on a variety of topics over the years including some 2006 commentary on the radio show The Right Side, in which he said that the Democratic Party was “the party of sex on demand, the party that supports the homosexual agenda.”
Among other things, McDaniel said “I’m not even sure Janet Reno was a woman,” and that hip-hop music was partially to blame for gun violence. He’s also had a fixation on Mexico, much like Trump.
“Why don’t we all immigrate south, let’s go to Mexico…You know, a dollar bill can buy a mansion in Mexico,” the Wall Street Journal reported McDaniel once said. “And I think we all get together, go down there, build us a studio for like 26 pesos, uh and you know, put on a radio show right there in Mexico. Live the rest of our lives there.”
McDaniel also discussed when it’s appropriate to refer to someone as “Mamacita.”
“You say that at the wrong place and the wrong time you will get beat down,” he said. “Mamacita. It’s not a bad word. It’s indicative. I think it basically means—I’m an English-speaking Anglo. I have no idea what it means, actually, but I’ve said it a few times, just for, you know, fun. And I think it basically means, ‘Hey, hot mama.’ Or, you know, ‘You’re a fine looking young thing. It’s a Rolling Stones song is what it is.”
He also reportedly once attended a neo-Confederate event.
The 2014 race also included one of the more bizarre chapters in American political history in which a man was arrested for sneaking into a nursing home and taking photos of Cochran’s bedridden wife. At the time, as the Clarion-Ledger reported, Cochran’s campaign was questioning how McDaniel’s campaign manager seemed to be aware of the incident before news reports broke.
It became a dominant feature of the race with Cochran’s campaign running ads about the arrested individual who happened to be a McDaniel supporter.