Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is back with his colleagues in Washington, D.C., after winning his hard-fought primary runoff — but he had a bit of trouble finding Senate Republicans’ weekly luncheon on Tuesday.
According to The Hill, Cochran was talking to a reporter from The Hill and made a few wrong turns before accidentally ending up at Senate Democrats’ luncheon.
After exiting a Senate elevator on the wrong floor, Cochran and The Hill reboarded. He then found the right floor but turned away from the Senate GOP luncheon, a few yards from the elevator, to stroll in the opposite direction, arriving at the Democrats’ weekly gathering a few hallways away.
He chatted with Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) for a few minutes at the entrance, with Pryor congratulating him on his recent primary win over Tea Party-backed candidate Chris McDaniel, which his opponent is challenging.
Cochran didn’t seem to realize he was in the wrong place until someone in the room asked him if he was planning to join the Democrats for lunch.
“His father and I were elected to Congress and then to the Senate,” Cochran said after turning away from the Democrats’ room, referring to Pryor.
The Mississippi Republican then paused for a second, fumbling to read some papers he was holding.
“OK, so I’ve got to find out where …” Cochran said before The Hill asked if he was looking for the GOP luncheon, which has been held every Tuesday in the same room for years. “Well, look, S-211. Let’s see if I can do this. I’ve been here long enough — 30 years,” he said with a grin.
Cochran’s office downplayed the mix-up.
“Everyone on Capitol Hill gets off on the wrong floor once in a while,” Cochran spokesman Chris Gallegos said. “He has lunches and events in both those rooms. Where Senate Democrats meet on Tuesday, there are other events there during the week. I wouldn’t make anything of this. It’s simple to get distracted when you’re walking along with a reporter in the Capitol. Especially when it’s in session, it’s a very busy place.”
There have been other reports of Cochran struggling with his memory during his campaign. The senator seemingly forgot he’d met a reporter with The Atlantic, reintroducing himself to her just minutes after letting her interview him earlier this summer.
McDaniel, Cochran’s primary opponent, sought to make hay out of the 76-year-old senator’s age and memory during their hard-fought primary. The state senator lost the primary but is planning a legal challenge of the results.