A Mississippi political blogger has been arrested for allegedly sneaking into the nursing home where Sen. Thad Cochran’s wife resides and taking her picture for an online video, the Clarion-Ledger reported Saturday.
The blogger, Clayton Thomas Kelly, 28, was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult. The video, described as a “hit piece” to the newspaper by its sources, was allegedly critical of Cochran (R-MS) and supportive of his GOP primary challenger, State Sen. Chris McDaniel.
It was posted on April 26 and included a picture of Rose Cochran, who suffers from dementia and moved into the nursing home in 2000. It has since been taken down, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
The Mississippi Senate Republican primary has been one of the fiercest establishment versus tea party battles of the 2014 cycle. The Clarion-Ledger reported that Kelly ran the Constitutional Clayton blog, which includes multiple posts critical of Cochran and fawning toward McDaniel — wondering at one point if he is “the next Rand Paul.”
UPDATE: 11:55 p.m. ET
The McDaniel campaign issued a statement from McDaniel and emphasized that Clayton had “no relationship” with the campaign.
“I’ve reached out to Senator Cochran directly to express my abhorrence for the reprehensible actions of this individual. This criminal act is deeply offensive and my team and I categorically reject such appalling behavior,” McDaniel said in the statement. “My thoughts and prayers are with Senator Cochran and his family. Politics is about the exchange of ideas and this type of action has no place in politics whatsoever and will not be tolerated.”