Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), the recently announced primary challenger for Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss) Senate seat, spoke at a neo-Confederate conference in Laurel, Mississippi in August, according to Mother Jones.
The conference was hosted by the Jones County Rosin Heels, a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Invitations for the event described it as a “Southern Heritage Conference” intended for “politically incorrect folks.” Actually, Mother Jones also noted, that event was the second Jones County Rosin Heels event he recently attended. In June McDaniel was the keynote speaker at the Division Reunion in Jackson, also hosted by the Jones County Rosin Heels.
The Jones County Heels have been pretty clear about its secessionist sentiments, Mother Jones further noted. The group’s newsletter said in September said that “we are living in the times that Jefferson Davis predicted would one day come” where the disagreements that resulted in the Civil War arose again.
McDaniel is considered a top-tier challenger to Cochran. Almost immediately after he entered the race, he was endorsed by the Senate Conservatives Fund, The Madison Project and the Club for Growth.
A spokesman for McDaniel defended the appearance, saying that the state senator speaks to many different types of groups.
“Senator McDaniel has driven across Mississippi to speak to many groups over the past decade,” McDaniel spokesman Keith Plunkett told Mother Jones. “He will speak to groups whether they are ideologically [sic] on the left or the right and anywhere in between, because he believes the message of individual freedom that comes from following the Constitution is something that benefits every American.”