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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Mississippi senator Thad Cochran is facing an uphill battle in his Republican primary campaign against Tea Party-backed state senator Chris McDaniel, but he isn’t going down without a fight.

Over the weekend, the Cochran campaign released a new ad featuring clips from McDaniel’s time as a right-wing talk radio host.

“It’s so interesting to see this woman, basically using her [censored]…using her breasts to run for office,” McDaniel says in one clip.

“Mamasita, hey hot momma. You know you’re a fine looking young thing,” he says in another.

Perhaps most provocatively, given the expected conservative nature of the electorate in the June 23 runoff, the ad concludes with McDaniel’s vision of a libertarian platform: “I think the platform is, a free hooker and blow for everybody.”

The ad is currently only appearing on the web, although Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall reports being told that it will air on television this week.

The latest attack is a clear attempt to draw a contrast between the genteel six-term incumbent and McDaniel, whom the Cochran campaign has criticized as a loose cannon. It fits neatly with the bitterly negative tone of the race, which has been dominated by accusations that Cochran is too weak to stand up to Democrats in Congress, and that McDaniel was complicit in an incident in which one of his supporters broke into a nursing home to surreptitiously videotape Cochran’s bedridden wife.

Polls suggest that Cochran and McDaniel are virtually tied in the runoff; the latest survey, released on Sunday by Democratic firm Chism Strategies, found Cochran ahead by just 1 percent.

Screenshot: ThadforMS/YouTube

Sen. David Perdue

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) pulled out of his final debate against Democrat Jon Ossoff on Thursday —because he'd rather attend a Donald Trump campaign rally.

The Nov. 1 Senate debate was planned months ago, but Perdue's campaign said he could not participate as promised because he has been too busy doing his job.

"Senator Perdue will not be participating in the WSB-TV debate but will instead join the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, for a huge Get-Out-The-Vote rally in Northwest Georgia. For 8 of the last 14 days of this campaign, Senator Perdue went back to Washington to work for much needed COVID relief," his spokesperson John Burke said in a statement, referencing a failed attempt by Senate Republicans to pass Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-KY) "skinny" $500 billion proposal.

"To make up for the lost time, Senator Perdue has over 20 campaign stops planned for the closing days of this race, and he is excited to welcome and join President Trump in Georgia before November 3rd to campaign for both of their re-election efforts," Burke added.

WSB-TV noted on Thursday that it offered Perdue's campaign other time slots to accommodate the Trump rally, but the overture was rebuffed.

Ossoff's campaign blasted Perdue's "cowardly withdrawal," saying in a statement that the move "says it all: David Perdue feels entitled to his office, and he'll do anything to avoid accountability for his blatant corruption and his total failure during this unprecedented health crisis."

The incumbent's decision to break his promise to debate came one day after a video of Jon Ossoff criticizing Perdue's anti-Obamacare record at a Wednesday debate went viral. As of Friday morning, a 72-second clip of Ossoff has been viewed more than 12 million times.

Perdue responded to that attack by making the odd claim that he repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act — which would take insurance away from hundreds of thousands of his constituents — because he believed doing so would cover more people.

"I voted against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, because it was taking insurance away from millions of Georgians. Today almost 18 percent of Georgians don't have any health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act," he falsely claimed.

This is not the first time Perdue has put Trump ahead of the interests of Georgians. According to FiveThirtyEight, he has voted with Trump about 95 percent of the time, including backing his right-wing Supreme Court nominees, his tax cuts for large corporations and the very wealthy, and his repeated attempts to take money from military families to pay for a massive Southern border wall.

Medical experts and data analyses have suggested Trump's rallies have been super-spreader events for the coronavirus. Trump has refused to adhere to social distancing rules or to require mask usage at the events and the mass gatherings have frequently been immediately followed by case spikes in the communities where he holds them.

One poll this week found that voters across the country said they are less likely to vote for Trump because of his "large, in-person campaign rallies where wearing a mask is not required of attendees."

The race between Ossoff and Perdue is considered a "toss-up" by election experts, and polls show it as virtual tied.

If no candidate gets a majority on Tuesday, the top two finishers will face off in a January runoff.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.