The traditional benchmark for a federal politician's success is his ability to deliver projects (read: federal money) for the people back home. In Mississippi, still gripped in the throes of Tea Party fever, veteran Sen. Thad Cochran's success in that regard is seen as a negative. Careful what you wish for, voters.
Politico has an extended look at Cochran's upcoming Republican primary, in which he's being challenged for his seat by state senator Chris McDaniel. McDaniel, you may remember, was last in the news for his appearances at meetings of pro-secessionist, pro-Confederacy groups.
As the race has developed, McDaniel's gone after Cochran hard. "The brash state lawmaker," Politico reports, "trashes Cochran’s record as an appropriator for their poor home state as a travesty of spending and debt." McDaniel told an audience at one appearance, "I'm not going to do anything for you. I'm going to get the government off your back, then I’m gonna let you do it for yourself."
In the abstract, that sounds fine, sure. In practical terms, it's trickier. Mississippi is consistently one of the most lopsided recipients of federal money in terms of how much it pays in taxes. In 2012, the state took in $3.07 in federal spending for every $1 it sent to Washington — a figure topped by only four other states.
Data from Transparency.gov and the IRS.