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Trump-backed senator gets GOP primary foe in Mississippi

ELLISVILLE (AP) — Mississippi state lawmaker Chris McDaniel, who lost a bitter Republican primary to the state’s senior U.S. senator in 2014, said Wednesday that he is challenging the state’s other Republican senator, Roger Wicker.

The tea party-backed McDaniel casts himself as a conservative defender of constitutional rights and limited government and Wicker as a “liberal” beholden to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and big-money special interests. President Donald Trump is endorsing Wicker even as McDaniel says that he — not Wicker — is the candidate who will fulfill Trump’s promises to change Washington.

“I’m going to go there to help him drain the swamp,” McDaniel said to the applause of about 200 supporters in his hometown of Ellisville.

But, moments after making his announcement before a large American flag, McDaniel said in response to reporters’ questions that he won’t rule out the possibility of dropping out of the race against Wicker and running in a special election this year — if there is one for the Senate seat he previously sought.

“I’m not going to foreclose any options,” McDaniel said.