|U.S. Senate, Mississippi|
|December 27, 1978-Present|
|January 3, 2015|
|Years in position||36|
|Predecessor||James Eastland (D)|
|Elections and appointments|
|Last election||November 4, 2008|
|First elected||November 7, 1978|
|Next primary||June 3, 2014|
|Next general||November 4, 2014|
|Appointed||December 27, 1978|
|Appointed by||Governor Cliff Finch|
|U.S. House of Representatives|
|Bachelor's||University of Mississippi|
|Master's||Trinity College, Dublin|
|J.D.||University of Mississippi Law School|
|Years of service||1959-1961|
|Birthday||December 7, 1937|
|Place of birth||Pontotoc, MS|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Career
- 3 Committee assignments
- 4 Issues
- 4.1 Legislative actions
- 4.1.1 113th Congress
- 4.1.2 National security
- 4.1.3 Economy
- 4.1.4 Immigration
- 4.1.5 Social Issues
- 4.1.6 Previous congressional sessions
- 4.2 Presidential preference
- 4.1 Legislative actions
- 5 Elections
- 6 Campaign donors
- 7 Analysis
- 8 Personal
- 9 Recent news
- 10 External links
- 11 References
Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Cochran is a more moderate right of center Republican Party vote. As a result, he may break with the Republican Party line more than his fellow members.
Cochran was born in 1937 in Pontotoc, MS, where he also attended high school. He earned his B.A. from the University of Mississippi in 1959 and his J.D. from the University of Mississippi Law School in 1965. Cochran also studied international law and jurisprudence at Trinity College, Dublin. Prior to his political career, Cochran was a practicing attorney in Jackson, MS.
Below is an abbreviated outline of Cochran's professional and political career:
- U.S. Navy, 1959-1961
- Attorney in Jackson, MS, 1965-1973
- U.S. House of Representatives, 1973-1978
Cochran serves on the following Senate committees:
- Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
- Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, Marketing and Agriculture Security
- Subcommittee on Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Food and Agricultural Research
- Subcommittee on Jobs, Rural Economic Growth and Energy Innovation
- Subcommittee on Commodities, Markets, Trade and Risk Management
- Appropriations Committee
- Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Department of Homeland
- Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
- Subcommittee on Department of Defense
- Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
- Rules and Administration Committee
Cochran served on the following Senate committees:
- Appropriations Committee Ranking Member
- Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee
- Rules and Administration Committee
The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1%) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14% of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session. The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8%). For more information pertaining to Cochran's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.
John Brennan CIA nomination
Cochran voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.
On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border, without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists have been critical that President Obama did not offer a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.
The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."
No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013
Cochran voted for H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.
- See also: United States budget debate, 2013
During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies. The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Cochran voted with the Democratic Party for the bill.
Cochran did not vote on Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.
Violence Against Women (2013)
Cochran voted for S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.
Previous congressional sessions
Cochran voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.
Cochran is running for re-election to the Senate in 2014. He faces a primary challenge from Chris McDaniel in the Republican primary. The general election takes place November 4, 2014. According to a December 2013 poll from Harper Polling, Cochran has a 23 point lead over McDaniel.
Cochran was named by National Journal as one of the top five incumbent senators at risk of losing his or her primary election. Four of the five most vulnerable senators are Republican.
Opposition from the SCF
Opposition from Club for Growth
Following Cochran's announcement he would seek re-election in 2014, Club for Growth released a statement blasting his candidacy and said they would continue to support Chris McDaniel's run against him. According to Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, " Senator Cochran … is a strong supporter of wasteful earmarks — something that is opposed by Republican leaders in both the Senate and the House. Mississippi voters will make the final judgment as to whether it is time for a change." He added, "The Club for Growth PAC believes that State Senator Chris McDaniel is a constitutional conservative who will fight to repeal ObamaCare, cut spending, and stop President Obama’s reckless agenda. The Club for Growth PAC looks forward to strongly supporting his candidacy for the United States Senate."
Cochran has been endorsed by the following:
- "A true statesman, Sen. Cochran has dedicated his life to serving the people of Mississippi.... And Mississippi needs his leadership in the U.S. Senate now more than ever."
- "The people of Mississippi need his experience and proven conservative leadership more than ever. Thad's work on behalf of Mississippi is a testament to his selfless dedication to our state and its future. He has my full support."
- "After Hurricane Katrina, Thad dedicated his time and influence to our state's recovery efforts as we rebuilt from the nation's largest natural disaster. Our state has benefited from Sen. Cochran's leadership for over three decades. In today's political environment, we need this experience for Mississippi's future."
- "I am glad Sen. Cochran is running for re-election and I, like thousands of Mississippians, had encouraged him to do so. He is the father of the conservative Republican takeover of Mississippi, and his wisdom will be an asset to the conservative cause as long as he serves. We as Republicans have a major fight in Washington to unwind the Obama agenda in the next six years, and we need our best minds on the job. I hope all Republicans will rally behind Thad Cochran."
Cochran hired Kirk Sims to be his campaign manager. Cochran said, "I welcome Kirk Sims to my campaign team, and appreciate his willingness to serve as campaign manager. Kirk has demonstrated a commitment to the interests and the values of the citizens of Mississippi. His background and experience are consistent with my principles. He will be instrumental in the effort to engage and unite the people of our state in a discussion about Mississippi’s bright future." Sims was reportedly endorsed by Sen. Roger Wicker, former Gov. Haley Barbour and former Sen. Trent Lott.
Comprehensive donor information for Cochran is available dating back to 2002. Based on available campaign finance records, Cochran raised a total of $4,446,957 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 24, 2013.
|Thad Cochran's Campaign Contribution History|
|2008||U.S. Senate (Mississippi)||$2,723,398|
|2002||U.S. Senate (Mississippi)||$1,723,559|
|Grand Total Raised||$4,446,957|
Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Cochran's reports.
|Thad Cochran (2013) Campaign Finance Reports|
|Report||Date Filed||Beginning Balance||Total Contributions|
for Reporting Period
|Expenditures||Cash on Hand|
In December 2013, shortly after Cochran announced his intention to run for re-election, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Mitch McConnell hosted a fundraiser to kickoff Cochran's campaign.
Cochran won re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2008. During that re-election cycle, Cochran's campaign committee raised a total of $2,723,398 and spent $2,832,197.
|U.S. Senate, Mississippi, 2008 - Thad Cochran Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$0|
|Total Spent by General Election Opponent||$0|
|Top contributors to Thad Cochran's campaign committee|
|Alabama Peanut Producers Assn||$20,000|
|Baker, Donelson et al||$14,800|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
|Crop Production & Basic Processing||$202,794|
The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.
Cochran most often votes with:
Cochran least often votes with:
Ideology and leadership
Lifetime voting record
According to the website GovTrack, Cochran missed 353 of 12,211 roll call votes from Feb 1979 to Apr 2013, which is 2.9% of votes during that period. This is worse than the median of 1.7% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving.
Congressional staff salaries
The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Cochran paid his congressional staff a total of $2,698,737 in 2011. He ranked 7th on the list of the highest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranked 32nd overall of the highest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Mississippi ranked 19th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Cochran's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $1,392,070 and $3,875,000. That averages to $2,633,535, which is lower than the average net worth of Republican senators in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Cochran ranked as the 51st most wealthy senator in 2012.
|Thad Cochran Yearly Net Worth|
|Year||Avg. Net Worth||Avg. Citizen Net Worth|
National Journal vote ratings
- See also: National Journal vote ratings
Each year, National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted, as compared to other members, in the previous year. More information about the analysis process can be found on the vote ratings page.
According to the data released in 2013, Cochran was ranked the 41st most conservative senator during 2012.
According to the data released in 2012, Thad Cochran was ranked the 41st most conservative senator during 2011.
Voting with party
The website OpenCongress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, Thad Cochran has voted with the Republican Party 81.7% of the time, which ranked 39th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.
Cochran lives with his wife, Rose, in Jackson, MS. They have two children and three grandchildren.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Thad + Cochran + Mississippi + Senate
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Social media:
- Political profiles:
- Financial (federal level):
- Interest group ratings:
- Issue positions:
- Public statements:
- Voting record:
- Works by or about:
- Media appearances:
- Media coverage:
- Roll Call, "Cochran to Seek Re-Election in Mississippi," accessed December 6, 2013
- Biographical Guide to Members of Congress "William Thad Cochran," accessed November 3, 2011
- Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" accessed January 22, 2013
- Official U.S. Senate Website "Committee Assignments," accessed November 3, 2011
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
- USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
- ABC News, "Rand Paul wins applause from GOP and liberals," March 7, 2013
- Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet the GOP senators who refused to stand with Rand," March 7, 2013
- Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
- Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
- Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" accessed January 4, 2013
- The Hill, "2012 GOP Lawmaker Endorsements for President," retrieved November 23, 2011
- Political Wire, "Cochran Way Ahead But Possibly Vulnerable," accessed December 27, 2013
- National Journal, "Ranking the Top 5 Senators Vulnerable in 2014 Primaries," accessed December 31, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Conservative group launches early ad for Sen. Cochran’s primary foe," accessed November 14, 2013
- Roll Call, "Club for Growth Stands With Cochran Challenger," accessed December 6, 2013
- SF Gate, "Reaction to Cochran's decision to seek re-election," accessed December 6, 2013
- Roll Call, "Cochran Hires Campaign Manager for Tough Re-Election," accessed December 17, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008" accessed November 3, 2011
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 2002," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 5, 1996," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1990," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 6, 1984," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1978," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1976," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 1974," accessed March 28, 2013
- U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 1972," accessed March 28, 2013
- Open Secrets, "Donor history for Thad Cochran" April 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "Cochran 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 30, 2013
- FEC "April Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
- FEC "July Quarterly," accessed July 30, 2013
- FEC "October Quarterly," accessed October 30, 2013
- FEC "Year-End Quarterly," accessed February 13, 2014
- Roll Call, "McConnell, NRSC to Help Cochran Fundraise," announced December 9, 2013
- Open Secrets, "Thad Cochran 2008 Election Cycle," accessed November 3, 2011
- OpenCongress, "Thad Cochran," accessed August 8, 2013
- GovTrack, "Thad Cochran," accessed June 28, 2013
- GovTrack, "Thad Cochran" accessed April 2013
- LegiStorm, "Thad Cochran"
- OpenSecrets, "Cochran, (R-MS), 2012," accessed February 18, 2014
- National Journal, "TABLE: House Liberal Scores by Issue Area," February 26, 2013
- National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," accessed February 23, 2012
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed June 6, 2013
- Official Senate Site "Biography" accessed November 3, 2011
James O. Eastland
|U.S. Senate - Mississippi
| Succeeded by|
State of Mississippi
|State executive officers||
Governor | Lieutenant Governor | Attorney General | Secretary of State | Treasurer | State Auditor | Superintendent of Education | Commissioner of Insurance | Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce | Executive Director of Environmental Quality | Executive Director of Employment Security | Chairman of Public Service Commission |