A political blogger's photo of a Mississippi senator's sick wife has started an intra-party mess just weeks before the state's heated primary.
Senator Thad Cochran's wife, Rose, has dementia and has been living in a retirement home since 2000 according to WLBT. Cochran's lawyers say blogger Clayton Kelly sneaked into the facility and took a picture of Rose Cochran in her bed without her consent.
Kelly then reportedly used the picture to blast the senator in a video he posted to his YouTube page. The video has since been removed. (Via YouTube / Constitutional Clayton)
But the photo has sparked more than just a police investigation. Kelly's blog Constitutional Clayton shows he's a major backer of Cochran's primary challenger Chris McDaniel.
And now potential ties between McDaniel and Kelly have led to a heated exchange between their two campaigns.
The Cochran camp points out McDaniel's staff reached out to offer their condolences before the media was reporting the details of the arrest - which CNN says raises questions about what they knew and when.
What followed was a long and complex series of exact times and sources. To sum it up, local political blog Jackson Jambalaya posted the original report at 11:40 p.m. local time with the location, St. Catherine's. McDaniel's campaign manager says she read the story at 1 a.m. local time, and at 7:45 a.m. she left a voice mail for Cochran's campaign manager expressing her condolences. Around 9 a.m. Jackson Jambalaya updated the blog post with Rose Cochran's name attached and the Clarion-Ledger published its own story. Around this time McDaniel was interviewed at an event and said he had no knowledge of the incident. At 10:30 a.m. McDaniel staff says they fully briefed McDaniel and issued a statement shortly after.
McDaniel's campaign manager's preemptive call coupled with Kelly's support of McDaniel is causing some to question the link between the two. But so far McDaniel has denied even knowing Kelly, and his campaign manager claims she called early because she recognized the name of the assisted-living facility.
Critics have pointed out Kelly's blog features a photo of him and McDaniel posing together. Kelly is being held on $100,000 bond.