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Thad Cochran Rakes in Campaign Cash for Runoff

Thad Cochran is fundraising for the runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Thad Cochran is fundraising for the runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supporters in D.C. and Mississippi have opened their wallets for Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., since he came up 1,400 votes behind his GOP primary challenger last week and was forced into a runoff.  

In the eight days since, the six-term incumbent has raised $370,000, according to multiple 48-hour reports filed to the Federal Election Commission as of Friday morning. That includes contributions from supporters back home, lobbyists and his fellow senators, including Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, John Cornyn of Texas and Jerry Moran of Kansas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.  

And there is more coming in. The NRSC hosted a 250-person fundraiser for Cochran on Tuesday that raised $820,000, a committee official confirmed. Some of those funds are likely reflected in his 48-hour reports. Cochran started out the second round of the primary with a financial edge over his tea party-backed opponent, state Sen. Chris McDaniel. He still had $408,000 in cash on hand as of June 4, the day after the primary, according to his pre-runoff fundraising report — though much of that could be general-election-only funds. McDaniel’s report showed he had just $60,000 remaining for the June 24 runoff.  

The outpouring of support has allowed Cochran to air two TV ads already as part of a shift in messaging that highlights specific examples of how his Capitol Hill influence has brought both money and jobs back to Mississippi — and what could happen if his opponent wins. Cochran’s second ad, released Thursday, featured former Sen. Trent Lott.  

McDaniel has raised more than $50,000 since June 4, according to 48-hour reports filed to the FEC. But he also received air support this week from the Club for Growth, whose political action arm launched TV and radio ads Thursday critical of Cochran’s record and urging conservatives to get to the polls.  

Cochran is benefiting from outside help as well from Mississippi Conservatives, which reported Thursday another round of direct mail opposing McDaniel.  

In its pre-runoff report , the super PAC reported receiving $250,000 contributions from both former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Napster founder Sean Parker as part of nearly $1.3 million raised during the pre-runoff period of May 15 to June 4. It’s had to reload as well after finishing the primary with $54,000 in the bank.

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