DeSoto figures large in Senate runoff

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DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. -- Neither incumbent Thad Cochran nor challenger Chris McDaniel received 50 percent of the vote from Tuesday’s primary, so they’re headed to a runoff.

DeSoto County figured prominently in the race, and supporters on both sides are gearing up for another election battle.

The DeSoto vote went heavily to McDaniel in Tuesday’s primary, mostly due to the votes of people who are new to DeSoto County and want a change.

But more established residents say they’ll fight to keep their man Cochran.

Supporters of both Cochran and McDaniel blame low voter turnout for sending them to a runoff in a few weeks.

”Quite frankly, I was embarrassed at the low numbers,” said Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson, a Cochran supporter.

And both sides vow to work hard to remind voters of the importance of this election, and to win votes for their candidate.

”We’ve got to go out and wave signs and say be sure to vote on Tuesday, June 24th,” said former Olive Branch Alderman Don Tullos, who supports McDaniel.

Plenty of big names came out to support their candidates in huge rallies in DeSoto County.

”We are operating in a government right now where the Democratic Party is in charge in D.C. and we need all the experience we can get to go up there and fight for our Republican values in Mississippi” said Johnson.

But that’s much the same message supporters of Mississippi State Senator McDaniel gave for their support of him at a huge Southaven rally on Monday.

”We need somebody to go up there and speak for us, very loudly,” said Tullos.

Both sides cite their candidate’s deep Republican values.

The difference seems to be one of Washington experience and seniority.

Cochran supporters don’t want to lose it, and McDaniel supporters want new blood in Congress and a strict adherence to the Constitution.

So you could say this race comes down to youth versus seniority.

The winner of the June 24th runoff will face another familiar name - former congressman Travis Childers.