Tea party leader arrested in Miss. Senate race scandal commits suicide

Jun 27, 2014 11:29 AM by CBS News

A Mississipi tea party leader who was arrested in May for conspiring to photograph the ailing wife of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in her nursing home has died of an apparent suicide, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports.

Mark Mayfield, a lawyer and the vice chairman of the Mississippi Tea Party, was one of three people charged with aiding conservative blogger Clayton Kelly's quest to sneak into the nursing home and photograph Cochran's wife Rose.

The photograph appeared in a political attack video targeting Cochran, who was facing a tea party challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, in a primary election at the time. After besting the senator in the first round of voting, McDaniel was narrowly defeated by Cochran in a runoff on Tuesday, though he has not yet conceded the race, citing possible election irregularities.

The nursing home episode, one of several bizarre stories involving McDaniel supporters, threw a late monkey wrench into the primary election, which was closely watched by national groups as a marker of the strength of the conservative grassroots.

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