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Libertarian hero and former Congressman Ron Paul endorsed Mississippi U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel on Monday, adding his name to the swath of tea party supporters rooting McDaniel on as he tries to unseat six term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, 76.

“Chris McDaniel has been a fighter in the Mississippi Senate for smaller government and more personal liberties,” Paul said in a statement released through the McDaniel campaign.

McDaniel and Cochran are heading towards a run-off two weeks from today, the winner of which will face former Rep. Travis Childers, the Democrat candidate.

In the meantime, the tea party and grassroots conservatives are rallying around McDaniel, as Cochran focuses on wooing independents and Democrats.

“After 41 years of voting for bigger government and liberal policies, it is sad but not surprising that Senator Cochran is attempting to court liberal Democrats in a desperate attempt to win a Republican primary,” McDaniel jabbed last week.

Cochran’s campaign responded with a hook, saying McDaniel’s campaign is “full of criminals” and has displayed a “pattern of out-of-control behavior.”

These remarks reference the two controversial incidents involving the McDaniel campaign. The first was an alleged scheme by a McDaniel supporter to break into a nursing home to obtain a photo of Cochran’s wife and prove he was unfaithful to her with a staffer. The second, was the peculiar case of some of McDaniel’s staffers gaining access to the courthouse — where primary votes were counted — at 2 a.m, just hours after polls closed on the night of the primary.

Groups supporting McDaniel include FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth and the Tea Party Express, according to the Associated Press.

This runoff is seen as a microcosm of the the tea party-establishment split in the Republican Party, as both candidates received roughly the same support, but not the 50 percent required to avoid a run-off.

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