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US Sen. Thad Cochran defeats tea party-backed challenger in Republican runoff in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. - Six-term Sen. Thad Cochran has defeated a tea party-backed challenger in Mississippi's Republican primary runoff.

Cochran's win Tuesday over state lawmaker Chris McDaniel was another blow to tea party groups that are trying to unseat longtime Republican lawmakers. The race attracted $12 million in spending by outside groups.

Returns showed Cochran with a lead of about 3,800 votes, holding 50.5 per cent of the vote to McDaniel's 49.5 per cent with 98 per cent of precincts reporting.

The 76-year-old Cochran is a former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman. He was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving six years in the House.

Cochran moves on to the general election to face former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers, a Democrat, and the Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara.

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