I doubt that Trump’s support of Wicker will matter much to McDaniel

Roger Wicker was on hand for the unveiling of Chris Stebly’s artwork at the Roost in Ocean Springs in August.
Roger Wicker was on hand for the unveiling of Chris Stebly’s artwork at the Roost in Ocean Springs in August. Sun Herald File

President Donald Trump is backing Sen. Roger Wicker should Steve Bannon follow through on his promise to find a challenger to the Mississippi Republican in next year’s primary election, Politico is reporting.

State Sen. Chris McDaniel, who narrowly lost to Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014, seems certain to run although he has not made a formal announcement. He announced his run against Cochran in October of 2013.

Bannon has promised an anti-establishment challenger to every senator up for re-election and McDaniel would fill that bill. His Facebook page offers plenty of examples. But he hasn’t said if Trump’s backing would figure into his decision. Personally, I doubt it will.

The establishment is losing its grip on power. A new day is dawning.

Posted by Senator Chris McDaniel on Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Not at all," McDaniel said in a text when asked if Trump's endorsement would influence his decision. "I was proud to have Donald Trump's endorsement in 2014, and I look forward to having it again one day."

"I support President Trump because he promised us he would drain the DC swamp.

"If I decide to run, as the United States Senator from Mississippi, I will help him keep his promise.

"We must drain the swamp. We must change Washington.

"And the first step begins with removing Mitch McConnell."

Wicker, who was serving as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, endorsed Trump as soon as it became apparent he’d be the GOP nominee.

"This election will determine the direction of the Supreme Court, the American military, and the future of our economy,” he told the Clarion-Ledger. “The voters have spoken, and now is the time to unite.”

Although senators are telling Politico that Wicker can expect a formal endorsement, that didn’t translate into a victory for Sen. Luther Strange, who lost the primary race there to Roy Moore despite Trump’s backing. Wicker didn’t respond to Politico, he was busily stumping for Trump’s budget and tax plan.

“The big news is the Republicans in the Senate are actually acting like a team today,” he said. He said he expected the budget, which paves the way for tax cuts, to pass before midnight Thursday.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton