Blogger in the Mississippi Mud

For obvious reasons, I’m attentive when a political blogger makes big campaign news, so I’ve been trying to follow the bizarre saga of “Constitutional Clayton,” a right-wing novice blogger in Mississippi who’s found himself in the middle of a criminal investigation and a mud-flecked political controversy associated with the warm-and-maybe-hot Senate primary wherein veteran incumbent Thad Cochran is being challenged by insurgent conservative Chris McDaniel.

The Jackson Clarion-Ledger‘s Therese Apel and Geoff Pender have the most complete account out today. Long story short, struggling blogger Clayton Kelly, a big fan of Chris McDaniel, was chasing rumors Cochran was having a long-running affair with a staff member. Incited by unnamed “people on the internet,” Kelly decided to illustrate a post on the rumors with video of Cochran’s long-hospitalized wife, and showed up on Easter Morning at the long-term-care facility where’s she’s been for a decade to get the footage. It’s in dispute whether he broke any laws or rules in accessing Rose Cochran’s room.

In any event, he put up a post on the whole saga, and was quickly asked (or told) by the McDaniels campaign to take the sordid mess down–maybe by the candidate himself. So there are charges and countercharges flying back and forth, some suggesting the McDaniels campaign was behind the whole thing.

Lost in the crossfire has been the original attempted charge against Cochran. And the timing is very interesting, since right in the middle of it appeared the first poll of the cycle (albeit from the Citizens United Victory Fund, which has contributed to the challenger) that shows McDaniel running ahead of Cochran.

It sure looks like a shadowy effort to smear Cochran has backfired. But whether and how it affects the primary (two weeks from today), one thing’s relatively clear: ol’ Constitutional Clayton’s probably not blogging in Mississippi any more. At this point, even the Breitbartians would probably reject him for sheer incompetence.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.