POLITICS
09/15/2014 03:43 pm ET Updated Sep 15, 2014

One Family Was Powerful Enough To Change The Course Of This GOP Primary

To understand what transpired in the craziest Republican primary of the 2014 election cycle, you need to take a look at one family: the Barbours.

Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and his nephews Henry and Austin were instrumental in saving the political hide of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Amid signs that the long-serving senator was losing momentum against conservative upstart Chris McDaniel, they took the reins, changed the trajectory of the race, and then leaned on (traditionally Democratic) black voters to forge ahead during the runoff. The resulting victory was a surprise to election observers -- one that McDaniel contests to this day.

It was the type of behind-the-scenes political masterminding that the Barbour family has long been known for. But it came at a major price. Conservative distrust with the Barbours has spiked since the primary ended, with many accusing the family of dirty tricks and outright smearing.

In the latest installment of Drinking & Talking, Dave Weigel of Bloomberg News, Jon Ward of Yahoo News, Liz Mair of Mair Strategies LLC and Ben Domenech of The Federalist weigh the role the Barbours played in Mississippi's Senate race and the cost it will have on their long-term legacy.

Watch the video above.

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