McDaniel to Formally Challenge Runoff

By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email
By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email

Jackson, Miss. Chris McDaniel is challenging the Republican primary runoff results in which he lost to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. This appears to the be the first statewide election challenge in Mississippi.

"The facts, they're on our side. The law is on our side," said McDaniel at a Monday afternoon news conference.

McDaniel's attorney, Mitch Tyner, says the campaign will present a binder full of evidence to the state Republican Executive Committee. It details everything from crossover votes to what they believe to be race-baiting.

"We anticipate that after they review the challenge, they'll see that Chris McDaniel clearly clearly won the Republican vote on the runoff," Tyner said.

McDaniel says he wants the party to grant a public hearing eight days from now.

"Any time the government acts there needs to be a public forum," said McDaniel. "Any time the party acts under these types of circumstances there needs be a public forum."

The legal team says it has evidence of 3500 crossover votes and more irregular votes. Still, it doesn't equal the more 7,667 vote margin of victory Thad Cochran had. McDaniel says there's more to it.

"What it boils down to here is objective evidence of wrongdoing, objective evidence of ineligible votes. This isn't just us knee-jerking at this point," McDaniel said. "We've had several weeks of investigations, several weeks of research into this matter."

Tyner says the team did polling after the runoff and found that 71 percent of voters who identified themselves as Democrats admitted they won't support the Republican nominee in November, which they say violates state law. He says if you factor that in.....

"You can see that Chris McDaniel clearly won the runoff by 25,000 votes," Tyner said.

McDaniel says the challenge is needed.

"Integrity of the elections process of the state of Mississippi matters," said McDaniel.

If the campaign doesn't get the results it wants, then it can take the challenge to a state court in 10 days.

Republican Party chairman, Joe Nosef, says there’s no precedent for how the committee should handle a challenge.

He will serve in a judge role, but past that, he says there are limited rules.

Not long after McDaniel's announcement, Cochran attorney Mark Garriga said they are prepared to put an end to the allegations of fraud leveled against the campaign and are prepared to appear before the Republican Executive Committee and even a court of law.

Garriga gave little credence to the more than 15,000 votes the Tea Party candidate questioned.

"They have waited six weeks to do this," said Garriga. "I think that says a lot about the seriousness of their challenge. This is really about more publicity and not a serious lawsuit. Now it's time to prove those allegations, and we don't think he can."

Garriga says they are preparing filings of their own and will be making an announcement later in the week.


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