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Cochran May Have Stiff Competition in Senate Race, Says Politico

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Mississippi’s senior senator could have some trouble making his way through the next election if he chooses to run, says a new poll published at Politico.com. The poll ranks potential Republican candidates for the race, which is set for 2014.

Sen. Thad Cochran has been in office since 1978 and there has been speculation on both sides about whether or not he will run next year. He has said he will make a decision by the end of November, but has not said whether he will declare that decision publicly then.

The poll puts state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who has officially said he will run, close to Cochran, with 38 percent, next to Cochran’s 44. That’s a 6 point lead for Cochran, who is currently working on the new Farm Bill and whose name recognition is far beyond that of McDaniel’s.

The poll, by Public Policy Polling (PPP), then ranks McDaniel and potential Republican challengers, should Cochran choose to retire.

McDaniel would lead, with 25 percent. Miss. Sec. of State Delbert Hosemann would be next, at 23 percent. Cong. Gregg Harper would have 15 percent, Cong. Steven Palazzo would have 8 percent, Cong. Alan Nunnelee would have 8 percent, State Auditor Stacey Pickering would have 5 percent, and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves would have three percent.

State Democrats have promised strong candidates to go up against whoever the Republican nominee ends up being, but earlier this month, Ricky Cole, head of the state Democratic party, refused to name a candidate, saying, though, that the showing would be a good one.

There was word also earlier this month that the national Democratic party was vetting candidates for the race.

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