Sen. Thad Cochran Marries Office Aide After Alleged Affair

Mississippi’s Senior Senator, Republican Thad Cochran, has married his long time office aide, Kay Webber, Yahoo News reported. Cochran’s wife had died in December, after having lived in a nursing home for 13 years under treatment for dementia.

Sen. Cochran was challenged last year by former State Senator Chris McDaniel, who attracted support from members of the Tea Party movement. Cochran was criticized by Tea Party members for being in Washington D.C. too long and having too moderate a voting record as senator.

Blogger Clayton Kelly, the Inquisitr reported, was involved in breaking into the nursing home to take pictures of Cochran’s wife for the alleged purposes of supporting allegations that Sen. Cochran was having an affair with Webber at the time. As a result of the incident, Kelly has been charged with conspiracy, burglary, and attempted burglary. One of the other three individuals involved in the nursing home incident, Mark Mayfield, has committed suicide.

Webber has worked for Cochran’s office since 1981, and like the senator she is marrying, is age 77.

The nursing home photograph incident became a controversy during the primary battle between Cochran and McDaniel, in which supporters of the incumbent blamed the incident on McDaniel, and McDaniel denied any involvement or support of the alleged conspiracy. It is believed the photograph was going to be used to highlight the allegation of Cochran having an affair with Webber.

The primary election resulted in neither candidate getting the needed majority of the votes to be nominated, so the race was settled in a runoff, in which Cochran was declared the winner by 7,667 votes over McDaniel. Cochran won another term as U.S. Senator, with 60 percent of the votes in the general election last November.

Cochran married long time aide Kay Webber in a private marriage in Gulfport, Mississippi. ABC News reported. The marriage is attracting attention after allegations during the campaign last year that the senator was having an alleged affair with Webber.

Writing for the Fix blog at the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza writes a column titled, “Thad Cochran’s new marriage – and why our politics stink.”

Cillizza points out the senator’s staff denied an affair between Cochran and Webber, and now just a year later, the senator’s office announces that he is getting married to office aide Webber. Raising issues about the timing, Cillizza points out that the Senator’s affair with Webber began after his wife died, or that it began earlier and the denials of last year were not true.

Cillizza further pointed out, “a few facts shed some light on things. First, Webber has been on Cochran’s staff since 1981 and, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, she accompanied Cochran on more than 30 publicly funded international trips over the past 12 years. Second, Cochran’s wife, Rose, had been in a nursing home for the past 13 years of her life.”

In conclusion, Cillizza doesn’t fault Cochran for having begun an affair with Webber while his wife slipped further into dementia in the nursing home, if in fact Cochran was having such an affair at some point during those 13 years his wife was in the nursing home.

But Cillizza summarizes his point, writing “Lying about a relationship is bad. It’s worse that they felt compelled to do it,” and added the final point, “That’s unfortunate. Politicians are, after all, people too. Maybe if we remembered that fact, we’d have more politicians that acted like, you know, normal humans.”

[Photo By Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call from Getty Images]