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No debate not best move for U.S. senator

Like it or not, our nation’s political process is a blood sport.

Campaign strategies often take on the air of a full-scale war. People get hurt in the process and, well, it’s not a business for the weak hearted.

By the time Election Day comes, the candidates are often war-weary after months of battling.

In a perfect world, each candidate would run on his or her heart, intelligence and character. Unfortunately, more often than not nice guys don’t win races — good fighters do.

That’s why U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s refusal to debate challenger state Rep. Chris McDaniel is so puzzling.

The matter has received quite a bit of attention in Mississippi and beyond.

As much as McDaniel is a candidate simply riding a populist conservative wave by attacking his opponent on every front, Cochran is wrong not to face him.

A U.S. senator should fear no one, particularly not someone of McDaniel’s ilk.

McDaniel is a legitimate challenger, and Cochran, as the man on top of the proverbial hill, needs to face him.

Cochran recently told a reporter that he didn’t see the need to debate.

“I don’t know what there is to debate,” he said. “He obviously is going to criticize my record of service.”

Cochran is correct, but that should come as no surprise and is part of the political process.

McDaniel is, in fact, being critical of Cochran publicly already. By not standing up and facing McDaniel, Cochran comes across as weak.

We know Cochran is not, but he must stand up and fight.