Ted Cruz will campaign next week with Chris McDaniel, the insurgent conservative who mounted a high profile but ultimately unsuccessful primary challenge to Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran last year.
Cruz, the Texas senator and GOP presidential candidate, is planning a weeklong swing through the South. While in Mississippi on Tuesday, he’s set to stop in the northern cities of Tupelo and Olive Branch, and McDaniel is expected to accompany him during the trip and ride on Cruz’s campaign bus, Cruz spokeswoman Catherine Frazier confirmed.
McDaniel initially edged Cochran in last summer’s primary election but fell just short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff. The GOP establishment rode to Cochran’s rescue in that runoff, and McDaniel further alienated many Republicans when he challenged the results of the second election.
But he is a hero to the deeply conservative grass roots, an important part of Cruz’s base, and he will help Cruz rally supporters in a region that was friendly to McDaniel in the Senate race. Cochran’s victory — aided by a coalition of Magnolia State and D.C. heavy hitters — was seen as a major victory for the establishment — and a warning to tea party challengers eyeing challenges to incumbents.
Cruz, who is at constant odds with his party’s leadership, did not endorse in the Senate race but backed McDaniel’s calls to investigate the runoff results.