April 16, 2014 9:26:36 AM
JACKSON -- U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi has raised more than three times as much campaign cash this year as Chris McDaniel, his challenger in the June 3 Republican primary.
Cochran campaign manager Kirk Sims said Tuesday that Cochran raised $1.7 million from January through March, with more than $1 million coming from inside the state.
McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said McDaniel raised $474,624 during that time. He didn't specify how much came from inside or outside Mississippi.
Tuesday was the deadline for candidates to file campaign finance reports with the secretary of the U.S. Senate, showing how much money they raised and spent during the first quarter of 2014. The information eventually will be posted on the Federal Election Commission website, but the posting usually takes several days.
During a conference call with reporters, Sims said Cochran's campaign was holding $1.5 million as of March 31. He said it has raised $2.9 million since November 2008, after the last Senate election.
Fritsch did not immediately say how much cash McDaniel held as of March 31. He said in an email that the campaign has raised $962,426 since it started in October.
Cochran was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1978 after six years in the House. He is a former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. This primary is his most serious campaign challenge since his first re-election to the Senate, when he defeated Democratic former Gov. William Winter in the 1984 general election.
McDaniel was elected to the state Senate in 2007 in a Jones County district.
Independent groups, including Washington-based political action committees, also are spending millions of dollars on the race, with most of that money supporting McDaniel so far.
"For someone who says he doesn't like Washington, he certainly appears to like Washington, D.C., groups financing his entire campaign," Sims said of McDaniel.
Fritsch responded: "While Chris is receiving thousands of donations from individuals in Mississippi and from around the country, Thad Cochran's latest attack is predictable, given that Thad's donors are almost exclusively DC-based PACs and industry insiders, all of whom expect Thad to deliver a tax break, a subsidy, a 'bridge to nowhere' in Alaska or a 'lobster institute' in Maine."
Cochran supporters say the senator has delivered billions of federal dollars to Mississippi for Hurricane Katrina recovery projects, military installations and university research.
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