McDaniel vows to be conservative 'bulldog' in Mississippi Senate race against Wicker

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — State Sen. Chris McDaniel officially announced his bid in Mississippi’s primary race Wednesday afternoon in a fiery speech often reminiscent of a church service.

“I’m not going up there to be a leadership lapdog — I’m going up there to be Mississippi’s bulldog,” he told a spirited crowd at Jones Junior College in Ellisville. “If you want a conservative to fight for you, you have your candidate. His name is Chris McDaniel. Do you want a conservative, or just one that plays one on TV?”

But McDaniel’s fight may be an uphill battle. He’s facing incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker, who has represented the Magnolia State for the past 10 years. Additionally, President Donald Trump endorsed the junior Senator on Twitter Wednesday night writing, “I am with him in his re-election all the way!”

“Thank God for President Trump,” McDaniel said, standing in front of an American flag. “He’s made Roger Wicker a conservative for about three weeks.”

The Trump campaign issued a formal statement supporting Wicker on Thursday afternoon that said: “Senator Wicker was a great supporter of President Trump’s historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and is the type of leader the President needs to support his agenda ahead to create more jobs and economic opportunities for all Americans.”

Despite Trump’s support for Wicker, McDaniel still used some of the same language the president used on the campaign trail in 2016.

“If you want to drain the swamp,” McDaniel said, “let’s drain it right now.”

This election will not be McDaniel’s first attempt at winning a U.S. Senate seat. In 2014, the 45-year-old ran tight race against Sen. Thad Cochran, ultimately losing in a runoff.

“We haven’t forgotten what they did in ’14,” said McDaniel, stopping for applause. “We know what they’re capable of, and we’re not walking away from this fight.”

McDaniel also used his launch event to attack Republican leadership on Capitol Hill, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“Why do you keep sending the same old men to represent you?” he asked supporters. “They go up there and fall in line with leadership. They’re more concerned with Mitch McConnell than they are about you.”

In response to McDaniel’s announcement Wednesday, Wicker told ABC News in a statement he’s “… looking forward to this campaign and sharing my record of successfully fighting to reduce job-killing regulations, confirm conservative judges, enact historic tax cuts, rebuild our military, and honor our veterans. We will work hard to once again earn the votes and support of all Mississippians.”

The Mississippi primary will be held June 5.

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