Is the new celebrity endorsement for Thad Cochran a Hail Mary?

Readers have been on pins and needles over the Mississippi GOP primary fight between incumbent US Senator Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel. The race has produced a lot of questions — about McDaniel’s temperament, Cochran’s abilities, the Tea Party versus the Establishment, and even which side plays the dirtier tricks. But one question in particular has gone unanswered:

Wait no more, my friends. Behold the latest campaign ad running in the final days of the runoff, courtesy of the US Chamber of Commerce:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is bringing in a big-time closer for the Mississippi Senate race: NFL legend Brett Favre.

Favre, a Gulfport native who has coached football at Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, appears in a new Chamber ad praising Cochran as a “proven and respected leader” who can deliver education funding for Mississippi. …

The former Green Bay Packers quarterback may be one of the few voices and faces that can stand out on Mississippi’s cluttered airwaves in the final days of Cochran’s nomination fight against state Sen. Chris McDaniel. The two are competing in a June 24 runoff after they deadlocked in the first round of voting earlier this month.

That’s probably not a bad calculation. Favre’s sudden involvement in a political campaign will make news in Mississippi and nationwide, and might focus a little more outside money into the final stretch. But why didn’t the Chamber of Commerce get Favre involved in the first round of the primary? Cochran didn’t lose by much, and the impact that the Chamber obviously hopes to get with this ad might have prevented the need for the runoff in the first place. Bringing out Favre now looks a bit like desperation — a Hail Mary, if you will. But Hail Marys occasionally connect.

On the other hand, while Favre might be a favorite son in Mississippi, that’s not necessarily equivalent to a trusted voice in politics. It also might prompt a couple of uncomfortable parallels:

Favre has the Iron Man record in the NFL, with 321 consecutive starts with the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings. Even when he was playing, people questioned whether he was taking that record too seriously, and the Packers finally had to let him go to get Aaron Rodgers on the field. Thad Cochran has a 36-year run in the Senate on the line, with an additional five-plus years from his time in the House for a 41-year run in Washington DC. Baseball Crank’s quip about hanging it up is a point that some Mississippians will take to heart next Tuesday, and Favre’s appearance might not convince them otherwise.

Update: I had actually forgotten about Favre’s sexting/harassment scandal, and his addiction issues. I suspect most Mississippians have also forgotten about them or at least don’t give them much weight about their pride in their native son’s NFL accomplishments. But I don’t think that pride necessarily equates to political credibility, either.