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Last week pollsters confirmed that black turnout played a significant role in reelecting Mississippi Republican U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. While some political observers, such as Roland Martin, view this development as a sign that black people are voting their own interest, new reports suggest that those aligned with the Cochran campaign set about a misinformation campaign to scare blacks into believing that Cochran’s Tea Party opponent had a connection to the Ku Klux Klan.
MailOnline reports that Cochran’s team used race-baiting ads to get black voters to turn out and support him. The ads accusing Cochran’s Tea Party opponent, Chris McDaniel, of having racist ties reportedly aired 48 times on election day.
The ads were reportedly part of a scheme whereby a former staffer to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Pastor Mitzi Bickers, served as middleman. Records show she also used the same organization in a 2013 campaign, according to MailOnline.
And although the ad was paid for by “Citizens for Progress,” no one in Mississippi had ever heard of the organization and it’s not registered. As it turns out, the liberal political operative, Bickers, was paid over $40,000 to run the ads. Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour paid for the ads through a Political Action Committee (PAC).
“Vote against the tea party. Vote Thad Cochran,” said the ad. “If the tea party, with their racist ideas, win, we will be sent back to the ’50s and ’60s.”
The ad implied a connection to the KKK as well as a racist agenda.
Another ad said, “It’s time to take a stand and say no to the tea party…No to their obstruction, no to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president.”
Barbour admitted hiring Bickers but feigned ignorance when he was made aware of the ads.
“We hired Mitzi Bickers to do paid phones,” Barbour said. “If she had something to do with radio ads, I am unaware of it and was not involved with radio ads in Canton.”