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June 29, 2014 AT 7:27 AM
Six-term Sen. Thad Cochran struggled against a challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel in Mississippi's Republican primary runoff Tuesday, testing the appeal of decades of delivering federal largesse against conservative demands to slash government spending. The 76-year-old Cochran, the former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman who has steered billions of dollars back home, was locked in a tight race against the tea party-backed McDaniel, who was born the year Cochran came to Washington as a congressman. When no clear winner emerged from the June 3 primary, it forced a three-week campaign dash for the nomination.