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Miss. Senate Candidate Chris McDaniel Distances Himself from Comments on Reparations and 'Mamacita'

3:16 PM, Apr 11, 2014 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Another potential source of controversy for McDaniel is his support for a "personhood amendment," which he proudly touts on his website. Mississippi voters are staunchly pro-life, but the measure was so controversial and counterproductive it was defeated 59 percent to 41 percent in a 2011 referendum. "The press was pushing a false narrative," McDaniel said of the amendment. He doesn't intend to renew a push for it: "I will respect the wishes of the people in respect to that. They've already spoken."

Asked if he supported any exceptions for anti-abortion laws, McDaniel did not directly answer the question. "It's very simple. My record speaks for itself. I'm pro-life. I'm a Southern Baptist. And I'm going to let my record speak for itself," he said. Asked again if he supported exceptions for rape, incest, or life of the mother, McDaniel replied: "You know, I've been fighting this fight for years. I'm going to let my record speak for itself in that regard. And it's a very clear record." 

The personhood amendment didn't explicitly include any exceptions, but there's good evidence that supporting the amendment does not hurt candidates in Mississippi. As the 2011 Republican gubernatorial candidate, Phil Bryant co-chaired the campaign for the personhood amendment and said that if it failed, then "Satan wins." On the same day the personhood amendment lost, Bryant won his race by 22 points.  

Whether the latest controversy regarding McDaniel's radio comments has any impact in Mississippi remains to be seen. A November survey from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling showed Cochran leading McDaniel by just 6 points--44 percent to 38 percent. A poll conducted last week by the Republican firm Harper Polling shows Cochran up 17 points--52 percent to 35 percent. If neither candidate gets 50 percent of the vote in the June 3 primary, a runoff election will be held on June 24. Republicans inside the Beltway acknowledge that though McDaniel is trailing he has more intense supporters on his side.

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