Washington Bureau

07.07.14

Chris McDaniel’s Campaign Manager Hearts Haley Barbour

The Mississippi Tea Party challenger’s Senate campaign manager boasts of being endorsed by the former governor on her website.

Haley Barbour may be the archvillain behind Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel's loss according to many conservatives but that doesn't stop McDaniel's campaign manager, State Sen. Melanie Sojourner, from boasting of the former Mississippi Governor's support on her own website.

Sojourner's website features a prominent picture of Barbour and herself with a quote below attributed to Barbour stating "Melanie Sojourner is a true conservative, who will fight to protect your tax dollars in the Mississippi Senate. Her knowledge of business and agriculture makes Melanie the best person to represent District 37 in the Mississippi Senate, and I ask you to support her on Nov. 8.”

Since the picture was taken, Barbour and Sojourner have ended up on different sides in the divisive Mississippi Republican primary for Senate. Barbour actively backed six-term incumbent Thad Cochran for re-election and Sojourner ran the campaign of McDaniel. As a result, Barbour, who also served as RNC chair and was a prominent Washington lobbyist before becoming the Magnolia State's governor, became elevated to being the mastermind of the entire Cochran operation in the eyes of McDaniel supporters. This was fueled by the fact that one of Barbour's nephews, Austin, helped run the Cochran campaign while another nephew, Henry, ran a pro-Cochran superPAC. The result is that Tea Partiers in Mississippi now see the former Governor as the example of all that is flawed and wrong with the GOP Establishment.

Since the primary, Sojourner, who The Daily Beast unsuccessfully reached out to for this story, has announced on Facebook she will refuse to back Cochran for re-election in November. In the meantime, McDaniel is pursuing potential legal challenges to overturn the result of the June 24th GOP runoff and somehow wrest the Republican nomination away from Cochran.