Slatest PM: Mississippi's Looming Intra-GOP Fight

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 6 2013 4:58 PM

Slatest PM: Mississippi's Looming Intra-GOP Fight

88373664
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) surprised Beltway watchers with he decision to run for re-election

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Getty Images

Mississippi Primed For Intra-GOP Fight: New York Times: "Thad Cochran, a Mississippi Republican who was first elected to the Senate in 1978, set up a generational and ideological clash in the state’s Republican primary when he announced Friday that he would seek a seventh term in 2014. ... While Mr. Cochran, who turns 76 on Saturday, has the support of many leading Republicans in the state, he is already facing opposition from Chris McDaniel, 41, a state senator aligned with the Tea Party, who announced his candidacy in October and has won the support of some conservative groups. ... The primary could be the toughest race of his career. Mr. Cochran has faced little opposition in his 34 years in the Senate, routinely winning re-election by large margins over little-known Democrats. But the primary could offer insight into fundamental questions about the Republican Party: whether longevity and clout in a Deep South state that has venerated such qualities are enough to overcome national trends toward limited-government conservatism."

Keeping Secrets: Politico: "Cochran guarded his decision on whether to seek reelection so closely that even Senate leaders and top officials at the National Republican Senatorial Committee didn’t know what he was planning until he shared it with the press. He kept the political world waiting for his decision throughout the fall: he originally said he’d make his decision by the end of November, but that deadline passed with no word from Cochran. ... State insiders largely expected Cochran to step down: campaign finance records show he raised just $53,000 in the third quarter of this year, not the kind of sum expected for a senator the fall before a reelection battle. Cochran had $804,000 on hand at the end of September. But Cochran also was reportedly getting pressure from state and national Republicans to stick around for one more term because, if the GOP were to take back the Senate next fall, Cochran could reclaim his position as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee."

Dems Watching and Waiting: Associated Press: "Republicans need to gain six seats in the Senate to regain control after the 2014 elections. Democrats would welcome a polarizing Republican primary in Mississippi because it could help the party compete in a state that has long backed Republicans in federal elections, but even they acknowledge Cochran would be difficult to beat. The last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate election in the state was John Stennis, who served more than 50 years before choosing not to seek re-election in 1988."

It's Friday, December 6th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

Slate's Coverage of the #WorldCupDraw:

Obama South Africa-Bound: Washingon Post: President Obama and his wife, Michelle, will travel to South Africa next week to honor Nelson Mandela, the White House said Friday morning, and will be accompanied by former president George W. Bush and his wife, Laura. ... Mandela’s funeral is expected to be Dec. 15, a week from Sunday. But there will be events honoring the former president and leader all week long. Obama has long been expected to travel to South Africa to honor Mandela, who he calls an inspiration and hero."

Winter Weather: Reuters: "A deadly winter storm some forecasters say is the worst to hit the United States in years slammed the nation's midsection Friday, snarling travel and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of customers. The line of ice, snow and freezing temperatures stretched from the Texas-Mexico border northeast to the Ohio Valley, with the most severe conditions near Dallas, then punching through Arkansas and western Kentucky, according to forecasters at AccuWeather.com. Residents of large cities and small towns hunkered down against the storm. Many were without power as broad outages were reported through Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, according to local utilities. At the height of the storm, some 267,000 outages were reported in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone, according to utility provider Oncor, but that number was down to about 208,000 by Friday afternoon. More than 1,900 flights were canceled on Friday, according to online flight trackers."

A Secret Space Launch: Los Angeles Times: "A 19-story-tall rocket launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base late Thursday night, carrying a secret payload for the U.S. government. An Atlas V rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 3 at 11:15 p.m. PST, lighting up the night sky as it roared into orbit. The mission was carried out by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of aerospace giants Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co., for the National Reconnaissance Office. The government agency operates the nation's system of spy satellites. As usual, it has not disclosed any information about the mission, called NROL-39. United Launch said that 12 small spacecraft, called CubeSats, were also sent up as part of the mission. The Army disclosed Friday that it developed four of the nanosatellites, which will remain on orbit for 'several years' supporting experiments before burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. The spacecraft represents the first U.S. Army-designed and -built satellites in more than 50 years, it said."

Germany Quietly Frees WWII Nazi: Associated Press: "A 94-year-old man deported from the U.S. for lying about his Nazi past was released from custody Friday after a German court said it had serious doubts he is fit to stand trial on charges he served as a death camp guard. The state court in Ellwangen, in southwestern Germany, said in a statement it had concluded that Hans Lipschis was suffering from the onset of dementia, based on two meetings with the suspect and a psychiatric assessment, and that he was easily disoriented. ...  It was not clear where Lipschis would go, and his attorney was not immediately available for comment. Lipschis has been held in a prison hospital. ... Lipschis has acknowledged being assigned to an SS guard unit at Auschwitz but maintains he only served as a cook and was not involved in any war crimes."

Don't Drink the Water: CBS/AP: "A long-awaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a link between tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers. The study released late Thursday by the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry is based on a small sample size and cannot prove exposure to the chemicals caused individual illnesses. It surveyed the parents of 12,598 children born at Camp Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, the year most contaminated drinking water wells were closed. The study looked back in time and was designed to see if there was a link between exposure to certain chemicals and certain health problems that developed later. The study concludes that babies born to mothers who drank the tap water while pregnant were four times more likely than women in similar circumstances who did not consume the water to have such serious birth defects as spina bifida."

That's all for today. See you back here Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. Follow him on Twitter.