Former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour says an endorsement by NFL legend Brett Favre for Barbour-backed incumbent senator Thad Cochran has nothing to do with a 2012 pardon given to Favre’s brother for vehicular manslaughter.
Supporters of Cochran’s challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, are accusing Barbour of calling in a favor to Favre, a native of Mississippi with tremendous pull there.
“I think any reasonable person would ponder the question as to whether governor Barbour’s pardon of Brett Farve’s brother on a drunk driving manslaughter conviction might have some bearing on Brett Farve’s eleventh hour endorsement of Thad Cochran,” Miss. state Sen. Angela Hill told The Daily Caller.
It's the latest in a string of celebrity endorsements in a hard-fought and often bizarre race in which a tea-party backed candidate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, is trying to unseat the former Senate Appropriations chairman in a Republican primary runoff next Tuesday.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending $500,000 for TV ads to support Cochran, including the Favre spot that started airing Thursday.
"I've learned through football that strong leadership can be the difference between winning and losing," scruffy-bearded Favre says in the ad. "And when it comes to our state's future, trust me: Mississippi can win and win big with Thad Cochran as our strong voice in Washington."
After the June 3 primary, three McDaniel campaign representatives became trapped in a locked county courthouse in the middle of the night, hours after officials had stopped their initial vote count. No criminal charges were filed.
As for Favre, he grew up in the small Mississippi coastal town of Kiln and now lives outside Hattiesburg. In the ad, he says Cochran "always delivers, just like he did during Katrina." It's a reference to billions of federal dollars that Mississippi received after Hurricane Katrina left a wide swath of destruction across the southern half of the state in 2005.
"Whether it's getting critical funding for our schools, Thad Cochran always delivers," Favre continues, "just like he did during Katrina."
On June 24, I encourage you to stand with a proven and respected leader — Thad Cochran," Favre says. "Please tell your family and friends, 'Let's stand with Thad.'
The U.S. Chamber says that Barbour had nothing at all to do with the Favre ad.
“The decision to use Brett Favre and run the ad was ours and ours alone,” said Blair Holmes, the organization’s director of media relations.