Chris McDaniel is dropping his primary challenge against Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. — and will run instead in the special election to replace retiring Republican Sen. Thad Cochran.
The arch-conservative state senator made the announcement Wednesday, just two weeks after announcing his challenge of Wicker, Mississippi Today reported.
"By announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats' chances of winning the open seat," McDaniel said in a release, the news outlet reported.
"If we unite the party now and consolidate our resources, we can guarantee Donald Trump will have a fighter who will stand with him."
According to the Washington Examiner, McDaniel could face his first hurdle if GOP Gov. Phil Bryant appoints a consensus conservative to succeed Cochran, who then also runs in the special.
McDaniel, who failed in a 2014 challenge to the veteran Cochran, hopes to coalesce voter support by jumping in before Bryant makes the appointment, the Examiner reported.
He also came out swinging against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., ahead of his expected opposition.
"It's no secret that the Mississippi Republican establishment has been coordinating with Mitch McConnell to do everything in their power to keep me from getting elected to the United States Senate, just as they did with Mo Brooks," McDaniel said.
"Mitch McConnell wants to hand-pick our next Senator. I understand why. It's because they know that I won't be answering to them, I'll be answering to the voters of Mississippi and putting Mississippi first."
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