POLITICS
06/24/2014 11:05 pm ET Updated Jun 25, 2014

Thad Cochran Defeats Chris McDaniel In GOP Primary Runoff

Sen. Thad Cochran has won a runoff election in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, defeating Chris McDaniel.

McDaniel and Cochran were forced into a runoff after neither candidate received a majority of the vote in the June 3 primary.

This was the first major GOP challenger for Cochran in decades. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) campaigned for the 76-year-old incumbent on Monday, painting McDaniel as inexperienced.

"We are facing a crisis with our veterans. We are facing a crisis internationally," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said hours after campaigning for Cochran, according to the AP. "His opponent has no experience or knowledge with those issues."

Tea party-backed McDaniel also had major GOP supporters, including McCain's 2008 running mate, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) also backed McDaniel.

The race between McDaniel and Cochran was filled with drama. In May, a political blogger and McDaniel supporter was arrested after allegedly sneaking into the nursing home Cochran's wife resides and photographing her for an Internet "hit piece" against her husband. McDaniel denied having any prior knowledge of the situation.

The controversial race also hit a bump when conservative group said they would send "election observers" to Mississippi to ensure that Democrats who already voted in this month's primary followed a law barring them from casting ballots in the Republican runoff, according to the New York Times. The Justice Department said Monday it would closely monitor polling in Mississippi, looking out for voter intimidation.

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