Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 9, 2016

Chris McDaniel Files Challenge to Mississippi Runoff Results

McDaniel is challenging the results of the June 24 runoff. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel announced Monday he will formally challenge the results of the Republican Senate primary runoff.

Six weeks after the runoff and a month after the state GOP certified Sen. Thad Cochran as the nominee, the McDaniel campaign announced they were filing a challenge with the Mississippi Republican Party’s State Executive Committee.

“They asked us to put up or shut up,” McDaniel said at a press conference in front of his attorney’s office, holding up a large binder. “Here we are. Here’s the evidence.”

McDaniel made a rare appearance at the event, which was streamed live by local media outlets. The loud cheers from the crowd sounded like it was made up of more supporters than reporters.

Mitch Tyner, an attorney for the campaign, said they do not want a new election, as he’d previously said. The campaign now wants the results invalidated and McDaniel declared the winner.

“We anticipate that after they review the challenge that they’ll see that Chris McDaniel clearly, clearly, won the Republican vote on the runoff,” Tyner said, as thunder cracked in the background.

“We’re not asking for a new election,” he added. “We’re just asking the Republican Party simply recognize the person that actually won the election.”

Tyner said they found “approximately 3,500 that are cross-over votes,” in which Democrats voted in the Republican runoff, “approximately 9,500 where there are questions” and about 2,275 improperly cast absentee ballots.

All told, he said, the Mississippi GOP should declare McDaniel the winner by 25,000 votes.

In response to the challenge, the Cochran campaign announced Monday it has retained law firm Butler Snow, which has several Mississippi offices.

“The filing of this challenge marks the point where this matter moves from an arena of press conferences and rhetoric into a setting where nothing matters but admissible evidence and the rule of law,” Cochran campaign attorney Mark Garriga said in a statement. “We look forward to holding the McDaniel campaign to the burden of proof that the law requires — and, we are dedicated to the defense of the votes of those Mississippians who voted on June 24 for Thad Cochran as their United States Senator, an election which has been as thoroughly reviewed and examined as any in modern Mississippi history.”

McDaniel said the challenge was not about the “anger” or “frustration” conservatives felt about the election results. Rather, it’s about “the integrity of the elections process” and “the integrity of the Republican Party and its primary system,” he said.

“This is an opportunity for our party to take the lead on honest, good and transparent government,” McDaniel said to great applause.

  • Packard Day

    Let’s see the evidence. Not that the likes of Thad Cochran of ubber lobbyist Haley Barbour would ever do anything politically untoward.

    They are both “Washington DC/Wall Street Patriots” don’t you know?

  • conservmommy

    So basically, black people should never vote republican? Sounds like McDaniels needs to strap on that white hood and get it over with. He’s a lying asshat, and everyone but the really really stupid, know that.

  • jkpalmdale

    Only the absentee ballots can they know who the votes were cast for. He just assumes all the bad ballots were cast for Cochran. He cannot prove that, so who does he think he is, that he should just be declared the winner.

  • jkpalmdale

    The Democrats took responsibility for both the mailers and robocalls.

  • jkpalmdale

    What is so funny is he voted in the Democratic primary when Haley Barbour was running for Governor. He is a hypocrite and a liar saying he always votes Republican

  • Cameiros

    And in the background, pulling strings as they have always done in Mississippi -and in the GOP – is the Klan…

  • AwakenNow

    All Mississippi registered voters were allowed to pick whether to vote in the Democratic or Republican Primary Elections on June 6. The Democratic candidate won with NO run-off required. Voters who voted in Democratic Primary were NOT allowed to cast votes in the June 24 Republican RUN-OFF election. But, Cochran campaign encouraged Democrats to ILLEGALLY do so — no matter who they voted for.

  • NRS1957

    Ok, the evidence has been released at the below link. It is over 240 pages.

  • daddyoyo

    It turns out that the pastor who said that Cochran paid him to round up votes was paid by the McDaniel campaign to make the false claim. OOPS.

  • daddyoyo

    Are you forgetting the fact that the vast majority of Democrats didn’t vote in their primary and could therefore vote in the Republican one if they felt like it?

  • NRS1957

    Who knows what the truth is relating to that pastor. That will have to be determined separately from the election Fraud and/or illegal events. The two have nothing in common.

  • NRS1957

    Do you realize that if they voted in the Repub primary and voted for the Dem in November that they broke the law? Even though it would be impossible to prove. The MS election Laws need to be redone to get a better control on the primary election process. The primary are for the parties to determine their candidate. It is not suppose to be a free for all to were dems and repubs cross the lines to interfere in the other parties primary.

  • brickman

    Maybe the people of MS are morons but every time that I go to vote here in NJ., I have to sign a book which the challengers can check that shows my signature and the other times that I have voted. Are the people there so stupid that they couldn’t see if someone voted in the Dem Primary a few weeks before? If they saw that they should have challanged that person’s vote and sent them away.

  • brickman

    Rick Perry has the copyright on OOPS. Expect legal action.

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