Mississippi's Thad Cochran, a senator since 1978 and the second-most-senior Republican, is in danger of losing his seat to a tea-party upstart attempting to become the next David Brat. "We just beat Eric Cantor," said the candidate, Chris McDaniel, who was "pumped," in a fund-raising email after the big shocker this week. His actual Eric Cantor, though, is Cochran, who is really sick of being compared to the Republican party's big loser.
Asked about the Virginia race yesterday, Cochran told Fox News, "I don't know what you're talking about." He may have been being facetious.
"What happened in Virginia?" he asked. "I haven't really followed that campaign very closely at all." Informed by the reporter that Cantor had lost, he replied, "Yeah, well it happens. You know members of Congress: some win, some lose."
Cochran, however, had already told local papers earlier that he was "surprised" by Brat's win. The senator "had been asked that question repeatedly and answered it repeatedly," said his spokesperson, implying sarcasm. "He felt it was time to move on from the subject." Ditto the tea party in general: "The tea party, you know, is something I don't really know a lot about," Cochran has said repeatedly.
Because the best way to fend off a grassroots attack from conservatives convinced they're not being taken seriously is definitely to belittle them.