A big tea party victory in Virginia could have big implications here in Mississippi.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his Tuesday re-election bid to a tea party Republican challenger.
Cantor, a possible future House Speaker, now plans to step down from his leadership post after his surprising defeat by college professor David Brat.
Some say Cantor's loss could have a ripple effect on Mississippi’s heated US Senate runoff race.
Six-term incumbent senator Thad Cochran is running on his 40 years in Washington, bringing home billions of dollars in hurricane relief funds and subsidies to support Mississippi farmers.
Cochran’s opponent, state senator Chris McDaniel, has the strong backing of tea party groups, who want to reduce the federal deficit and cut spending.
Cochran isn’t worried about losing the upcoming primary runoff because of what some see as momentum for McDaniel, after the Virginia loss by an establishment Republican.
“I think I'm gonna win. I’m working hard going around the state. My campaign is to be re-elected for another six years so I can be helpful to the state of Mississippi,” Cochran told reporters just before touring a Rankin county plant Wednesday.
McDaniel believes his supporters have been energized by Brat's unexpected landslide victory over Cantor.
Mississippi College political science professor Glenn Antizzo says the Virginia shakeup could be good news for McDaniel.
“If McDaniel can just keep some of his supporters from engaging in activities that could discredit his campaign I think that he has a very good chance on two weeks,” Antizzo said.