Ron Paul Backs Tea Party Challenger In Miss. Race

Updated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former presidential candidate Ron Paul has added his name to the list of tea party supporters of Chris McDaniel's effort to deny longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi a seventh term.

McDaniel and Cochran were heading toward a June 24 runoff that illustrates the split within the GOP between its anti-establishment, tea party-flavored wing and its more staid establishment base. Neither candidate captured the required 50 percent of the vote in last week's primary.

Tea party and anti-tax groups have rushed to McDaniel's side in an effort to block Cochran's re-election. FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth and the Tea Party Express have sent cash and staff to Mississippi to help McDaniel.

The winner of the runoff faces former Rep. Travis Childers, a Democrat.

"Chris McDaniel has been a fighter in the Mississippi Senate for smaller government and more personal liberties," Paul said in a statement released Monday through the McDaniel campaign.

Paul's son, GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, has not backed a candidate in Mississippi.

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