Conservatism and education was weekend focus between Cochran & - - The News for South Mississippi

War of words continues in MS Senate race

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

State Sen. Chris McDaniel and incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran continue to campaign all over the Magnolia State to drum up support.

Mississippi's primary runoff election is 10 days away and will determine the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.  

But the issues taking center stage this weekend involve conservatism and education.

 "When I read comments by folks that are running for office that talk about 'I want to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education and eliminate the $800 million to Mississippi, that alarms me," State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright said.  

Wright responded to a political statement very similar to something McDaniel said in April, that the federal government should not pay for education.

 "The word 'education' is not in the Constitution. Because the word is not in the Constitution, it's none of their business. The Department of Education is not constitutional," McDaniel said at an April 10 campaign event.

Speaking Saturday in Pearl, McDaniel softened his stance a bit, reiterating the need for education funding because of his close ties to the system in Mississippi.

"My wife is a public school teacher. My mother in-law is a public school teacher. My dad was a public school teacher for 32 years," McDaniel said.

 The U.S. Senate candidate said he has doubts in the U.S. Department of Education's ability to spend that money on classrooms instead of bureaucrats.

 Sen. Thad Cochran's says he vows to keep federal education funding coming to the Magnolia State.

 "I will never recklessly trade Mississippi's schools for out-of-state special interests," Cochran said in a statement issued earlier this week.

One of those special interests, McDaniel says, shows that Cochran is more liberal than he lets on: a recent donation to a pro-Cochran Super PAC from former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who supports gun control.

Cochran's campaign responded Saturday.

"The Super PAC is an entity we are not allowed to coordinate with in any way and Thad Cochran is endorsed by the NRA," Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell said.

 McDaniel says he isn't buying it.

"Michael Bloomberg, the biggest liberal that I can think of in the country that happens to be a mayor gave the one Super PAC that's attacking me on behalf of Thad Cochran $250,000 and you're telling me Thad Cochran and Haley Barbour had nothing to do with that?" McDaniel said. "Absolutely they had something to do with that."

Cochran's camp released this statement to WLBT Saturday.

"If Chris McDaniel wants to play guilt by association, he might want to explain to Mississippians why he is holding a rally today with a man that wants to tear down the border fence, close all public schools, thinks 9/11 was an inside job, supports slashing our national defense, thinks Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional and opposes the farm bill and flood insurance," Russell said in the statement.  

The camp is referring to a rally McDaniel had with Sen. Ron Paul in Hattiesburg Saturday evening.

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