JACKSON, Miss. — Neither incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran nor tea party-backed Chris McDaniel received more than 50 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary, forcing a runoff on June 24th.
With 99.8 percent of precincts reporting, McDaniel led with 154,040 votes (49.5%) to Cochran’s 153,654 votes (49%), according to the Associated Press.
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.