Cochran, McDaniel take fight over blogger arrest on the air

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and his Republican primary challenger Chris McDaniel have each taken to the airwaves with ads hitting the other over a recent arrest stemming from the illicit photographing of Cochran's bedridden wife.

Coming in the final stage of a heated primary, the ads are the latest sign the incident involving Cochran's wife has overshadowed all else in the race ahead of the June 3 election.

The latest offering came Tuesday from McDaniel, a state senator, who released a TV commercial referring to a Cochran attack ad without discussing any of its details.

"You've probably seen Thad Cochran's negative attack ads. Newspapers call them shameless. I call them outrageous," McDaniel says in the commercial.

The ad he's talking about is one from Cochran that highlights the arrest of Clayton Thomas Kelly, a pro-McDaniel blogger who was taken into custody May 16 on allegations he entered the nursing home where Cochran's wife resides, filmed her, and posted at least one image in an online video. Kelly now faces at least two felony charges. More arrests were later made in connection with the case.

"It's the worst: Chris McDaniel's supporter charged with a felony for posting video of Sen. Thad Cochran's wife in a nursing home? Had enough?" asks the narrator of the Cochran ad, which is up on the air this week.

Cochran's campaign has suggested that McDaniel's team knew more about the incident than they led on. McDaniel's campaign has insisted it played no part in the filming of Cochran's wife, who suffers from dementia.

The primary is June 3. National tea party groups have rallied to McDaniel's side in what is shaping up as perhaps their last best chance to dislodge a GOP senator in a primary this year.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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