Republican Primary Race is Heating Up

Reported by: Mark Armstrong
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Updated: 4/16 7:42 pm
The Mississippi Republican Primary election is less than 50 days away, and things are heating up among candidates as voting day nears. “If they pay reparations, and my taxes go up, I ain't paying taxes.” That was senate candidate, Chris McDaniel when he was the host of the Right Side Radio Show. Wednesday, News 25 asked McDaniel if that comment and others like it were appropriate for a senate candidate.

McDaniel says, “Well it's a talk show from ten years ago. What's not appropriate is to bring up comments from ten years ago that were basically sporadic. Instead of going back ten years ago and bring up comments I said on a radio show, how about we talk about issues that affect Mississippi?” McDaniel believes the Cochran campaign is responsible for the release of the clips. The Cochran campaign tells News 25 they were not responsible and accused the McDaniel campaign of being paranoid.

Other recent controversy includes accusations that McDaniel had agreed to speak at a gun show in Guntown, Mississippi that featured a vendor selling white pride merchandise. McDaniel says he never agreed to speak at the gun show. McDaniel also says, “I don't associate with white supremacists, and the insinuation that I do is just a nasty and desperate attempt from those out there that have a lot to gain.”

Earlier this month, the Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, Joe Nosef, told NBC News he wanted McDaniel to clarify his position on the gun show. In response, the Mississippi Tea Party groups have called for Nosef to resign. Grant Sowell, the Chairperson of the Tupelo Tea Party, says, “We have joined that call that either he resign or remain neutral.”

In response to that statement, Nosef released his own statement to News 25. He says, “I've not only stayed neutral with regard to the candidates, but also worked relentlessly against efforts to divide our party." McDaniel says the recent criticism is nothing more than mudslinging by the Cochran campaign, and his supporters in the Tea Party say they know the true root of the criticism.

Tea Party groups claim a political action group backed by former Governor Haley Barbour is responsible for all these attacks against McDaniel. Sowell also says, “Yes, I'm saying that Haley Barbour, Henry Barbour, and others are putting a personal assault out on Chris for the intent of keeping their personal cash cow flowing.”

News 25 has reached out to the Barbour camp, in particular Henry Barbour, Haley Barbour's brother. Our phone calls have not yet been returned, but this statement from Senator Cochran's campaign just came in to News 25 in regard to this story. It says, “Chairman Nosef has handled himself in a fair and neutral manner throughout this challenging process. We, as well as Republicans across the state, look forward to him being our leader this year and beyond."






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