Rose Cochran, the wife of Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, has died, a spokesman for the senator told NBC News on Friday.
Rose Cochran, who was married to the senator for 50 years, suffered from dementia and declining health in her final years that kept her confined to a nursing home.
Her condition played a central role in the darkest chapter of the 2014 midterm elections after a supporter of Chris McDaniel, her husband’s opponent in the GOP primary, allegedly snuck into her room and photographed her in order to provide material for a political attack video.
The nursing home plot turned out to be a legal, political and human catastrophe. Clayton Kelly, the blogger accused of carrying out the plot, was arrested shortly afterward on felony charges, along with three others who were accused of conspiracy in relation to the incident. The case took a turn for the tragic when Mark Mayfield, an attorney and prominent conservative activist charged in the case, died in June in what authorities concluded was a suicide. A McDaniel spokesman lashed out after his death, accusing Cochran supporters of causing Mayfield’s death with excessive “politicization” of the nursing home case.
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Cochran went on to win the primary despite a lengthy legal challenge from McDaniel. One of the four defendants in the case, John Mary, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in exchange for not serving any jail time or paying a fine. Another, Richard Sager, still faces charges, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including burglary, and faces a trial next year.
Rose Cochran’s daughter, Kate Cochran, posted a photo of her mother on Facebook holding her hand in her final days.