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In It To Win It

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AP Photo / Kelly Price

Cochran's pouring lots of money into GOTV efforts and he's made little secret post-primary that he's seeking Democratic and African-American votes. And there seems little question that he's got the McDaniel camp worried. It even gets a little more concrete. A pro-Cochran super PAC has hired a Democratic operative named James "Scooby Doo" Warren (yeah, who knows) to do GOTV work in the state's African-American community. The PAC is tied to a prominent African-American pastor named Ronnie Crudup Sr. And if that's not enough, Warren has made clear that he's going to be working to elect Democratic nominee Travis Childers.

Bishop Ronnie Crudup, Sr., Pastor the New Horizon Church International in Jackson, Mississippi.

Now that's the kind of arrangement that's going to put partisans of either stripe on the fast track to WTFville. And the McDaniel camp has already arrived, to put it mildly. They're screaming about Cochran trying to win with Democratic votes and also pushing hard to the rightwing press about all the opportunities for vote fraud and vote buying in the African-American community. They've even got storied vote fraud huckster and US Attorney firing scandal alum J. Christian Adams - well known to TPMers - tasked with working the story.

But here's the rub, as Hall points out. It's certainly not a huge leap to think Warren was hired to turn out Democrats. After all, he is a Democrat and he says he's going to support the Democrat in November. But all the McDaniel folks really know is that he's tasked with turning out black people. Maybe he's just going after the black Republicans? Or maybe not since there are hardly any black Republicans in Mississippi.

Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel

It puts race right at the center of the campaign, even McDaniel didn't want it to be. And since McDaniel has made appeals to the state's neo-Confederate and white supremacist communities a not entirely hidden part of his campaign, you probably wouldn't be totally off base thinking there are McDaniel supporters who might be happy to have it be. Whatever anyone wants, it's pushing race and the rough and raw politics of 'vote fraud' bamboozlement to the center of the runoff phase of this election.