JACKSON, Miss. — Incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and tea party-backed Chris McDaniel remain neck and neck in the Republican primary for Cochran’s U.S. Senate seat.
As of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and with 99 percent of precincts reporting, McDaniel led with 153,524 votes (49.5%) to Cochran’s 151,590 votes (49%), according to WAPT.com.
If neither receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff on June 24th.
Just before midnight, McDaniel told supporters, “Whether it’s tomorrow, or whether it’s three weeks from now, we will stand victorious.”
Provisional ballots (those cast where there is a question about whether the voter is qualified) might not be counted for another week.
The winner will face former north Mississippi Democratic congressman Travis Childers in November.
The contest between Cochran and McDaniel has been closely watched, since the latter is a tea party member and Cochran has held onto his seat for 42 years.
The race took a major turn when four McDaniel supporters were charged with felonies for trying to take a picture of Cochran’s wife, who is in a nursing home and suffers from dementia.
Residents in North Mississippi said neither focused much attention there, although Cochran finally campaigned in Olive Branch Friday and McDaniel visited DeSoto County Monday.
McDaniel won DeSoto County with almost two-thirds of the vote.