Republican Senator Thad Cochran’s campaign is running a new ad highlighting the arrest of four supporters of Chris McDaniel, Cochran’s primary opponent who allegedly plotted to break into his wife’s nursing home to film her for a political attack.
“It’s the worst: Chris McDaniel supporter charged with a felony for posting video of Senator Thad Cochran’s wife in a nursing home. Had enough?” the ad’s narrator says at the start of the 30-second spot, which reportedly began airing on Thursday.
McDaniel and his campaign staff have not been tied to the incident, which has dominated the race since blogger Clayton Kelly was arrested earlier this month. Three others, including a prominent tea party leader and an activist who used to co-host a radio show with McDaniel, have since been charged in connection with the break-in as well. Cochran’s campaign has egged on the investigation with statements vaguely hinting at a deeper connection, arguing that the series of arrests “raises even more questions” about McDaniel.
McDaniel quickly responded to the attack ad with a TV spot of his own on Tuesday denouncing the six-term senator for exploiting the story.
“Newspapers called him shameless, I called him outrageous, but nobody said changing Washington, D.C. was going to be easy,” McDaniel says in the ad.
The June 3 primary is considered the tea party movement’s last best chance to unseat a Republican incumbent in 2014 after a failed high-profile challenge to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky that also featured its share of bizarre sideshows.