Civil Rights Leaders Ask Cochran for Favor

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Jackson, Miss. After black voters helped Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran survive an intense Republican primary runoff against an insurgent conservative challenger, some civil rights leaders in the South want him to repay the favor.

Their request? Cochran should lead the charge in the Senate to renew a key section of the Voting Rights Act struck down last year by the Supreme Court's conservative majority.

Black Mississippians have voted for Cochran in general elections before but never have been such a key voting bloc in a contested GOP contest. He must now ponder how to respond while also mending fissures inside the state GOP, which is mostly supported by white voters.

That task is complicated by such requests, as well as a potential legal challenge from his vanquished challenger.