Via the Associated Press:
Hundreds of workers arrive at sunrise at the Ingalls shipyard on the Gulf Coast, and there to greet them are a dozen campaign volunteers with fliers and signs that say, “Save our Jobs.”
In the middle is a small, white-haired man shaking the hand of anyone willing to take his own. “I’m Thad Cochran,” the 76-year-old U.S. senator said again and again. “I hope you have a nice day.”
If Cochran is to prevail Tuesday in a runoff election against Chris McDaniel, a tea party-backed challenger who came close to outright victory in the June 3 primary, he probably will need some of those shipyard workers to change their minds this time — or actually turn out and vote for him.
The Gulf Coast ought to be Cochran’s ace.
It’s the part of Mississippi perhaps most dependent on the federal dollars Cochran has made a career of delivering.
It’s home to defense contractors such as Ingalls, the nearby Stennis Space Center and military bases that include Keesler Air Force Base.
Thousands of households and businesses were rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina with the help of federal money Cochran helped secure.
But instead of going hard for Cochran in the primary, the 10 counties of southeast Mississippi went for McDaniel by 3,800 votes, nearly triple his statewide margin.
The six counties closest to the coast split almost evenly, with Cochran leading by a mere 129 votes.
All else equal, winning over a few of those headed to work at Ingalls Shipbuilding that recent morning could be enough for Cochran to win.