McDaniel to Discuss Possible Election Challenge

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

Jackson, Miss. State Sen. Chris McDaniel has scheduled a Wednesday news conference to describe what his campaign says is evidence of voting irregularities surrounding the June 24 GOP runoff and to discuss his next steps.

McDaniel led voting in the June 3 primary but lost in a June 24 runoff with U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran for the Republican nomination.

The matter could end up in court. Mississippi College Law professor Matt Steffey says that wouldn't be the easy way out for McDaniel.

"The law makes it difficult to challenge an election," said Steffey, "because in our society that's the thing that's supposed to settle everything."

If McDaniel does challenge the election results, Steffey says he thinks the Senate saga could last at least six more weeks.

The challenge would start with the Republican Executive Committee. Then, it would likely go to a trial court. Even past that, an appeal could be filed with the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Steffey says the court will be looking for several examples of proof. There are some things he thinks they might get hung up on.

"The idea that these crossover votes are illegal to begin with is based on an attorney general opinion, interpreting a statute that says you can't vote for more than one party primary on the same date," Steffey said.

Another key would be the actual votes in question. Right now, McDaniel's camp says they've found 8,300 questionable votes.

"I think they've got to go in there saying, we're challenging 12,13,14,15 thousand so when that number's whittled down, they're left with a number big enough that the Mississippi Supreme Court thinks there is no other alternative than to redo the election," said Steffey.

Steffey says the cost of a challenge wouldn't be small and could be upwards of six figures. McDaniel has already asked for donations from supporters.

State law does not allow McDaniel to run as an independent or write-in candidate in November.


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