State Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Ellisville, who has waged two unsuccessful campaigns for the United States Senate in recent years, said he has been in consultation with President Donald Trump about his political future.
Thus far McDaniel has not qualified to seek re-election to his state Senate post, which encompasses most of Jones County and a tiny portion of Forrest, and he has not qualified to run for another post.
The qualifying deadline is March 1.
“Right now I am talking with the president,” McDaniel said Wednesday during the legislative session at the state Capitol. “He wants to help. It will be interesting.
“We have had a couple of conversations, and he has been very supportive.”
Last year, the president endorsed and campaigned for Cindy Hyde-Smith in the special Senate election to replace long-time Sen. Thad Cochran who resigned in April for health reasons.
Hyde-Smith ultimately won the special election. McDaniel placed third. In 2014, McDaniel, a little known Tea Party candidate, nearly defeated the veteran Cochran in the Republican primary.
McDaniel has been rumored to be running for various posts in this year’s elections, ranging from governor to lieutenant governor to attorney general. On Wednesday, he did not rule out seeking re-election to his state Senate post. He is finishing his third term.
“Everything is on the table,” he said.
The general consensus is that McDaniel helped his standing with the state’s Republican establishment when after finishing third in the special Senate election in November he endorsed Hyde-Smith for the runoff against former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy.
Knox Graham, a spokesman for Gov. Phil Bryant, said the governor knows that McDaniel and the president spoke. Bryant, who appointed Hyde-Smith to the post in the Senate post in the interim before the special election, said McDaniel “has been a good friend for a long time.”
“We have been on opposite sides of a couple of elections. But I wish him well. The things about politics is you don’t know what the future may hold. Things could change anytime.”
Thus far no Republican has qualified to run for McDaniel’s District 42 Senate seat. The list of Democrats who have qualified to run for various state and district-wide offices has not been made public by the state party.