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McDaniel campaign expected to challenge runoff election loss within 10 days

Editor’s note: Although it’s been three weeks since the Republican primary runoff election for the U.S. Senate seat in Mississippi, tea party challenger Chris McDaniel is not ready to concede to six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. Cochran won that election by nearly 7,700 votes, but the McDaniel’s campaign has suggested there were voting irregularities, including Democratic voters who were not eligible to vote in the runoff. McDaniel has been trying to raise money to mount a legal challenge. Paul Boger of Mississippi Public Broadcasting reports.

JACKSON, Miss. — Lawyers for state Senator Chris McDaniel’s campaign say they need more time to look for potential voter fraud in last month’s runoff election against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. At a press conference in Jackson yesterday, State Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula, Miss. spoke to reporters on behalf of McDaniel.

“What it is is a look under the hood of the election process in Mississippi,” Watson said. “Not only does a candidate have the right to review the materials, but he also has a duty to act as a check to the integrity of the system.”

While the state senator’s legal team say they have found an alarming number of illegal votes cast, they were not ready to share the details. Previously, the McDaniel campaign said they found more than 8,300 voting irregularities. McDaniel lawyer Mitch Tyner says the evidence is mounting, and the campaign will likely file a challenge soon.

“There is already enough evidence to file the challenge.” Tyner said. “I’m not going to go into the specifics of everything, but crossover votes is a big part of our challenge. We expect to file a challenge within the next 10 days.”

During the press conference, Tyner also made serious accusations of vote buying as well as race-baiting against the Cochran Campaign. He says their tactics were shameful.

“The Cochran campaign– through race-baiting– took us back 50 years.” Tyner said. “It is wrong. To motivate black democrats through hatred to come out and vote for Thad Cochran, that’s wrong. That is absolutely wrong.”

Cochran’s campaign quickly responded to the accusations calling them baseless. Austin Barbour is a senior advisor to the Cochran Campaign. He says his camp is ready to concentrate on the November elections.

“People in Mississippi are ready to move on,” says Barbour. “For three weeks, we’ve heard allegations that always turn out to be false or are never backed up with facts. I want to say this on behalf of this campaign and on behalf of our candidate, as of today we’re focused on winning the general election in November. We’re moving away from this circus as best as we can.”

McDaniel will first have to file a complaint with the state GOP, before he can take his challenge to court.

This post originally appeared on MPB’s website on July 16.

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