IT AIN’T OVER: Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel isn’t giving up the fight, alleging thousands of votes were cast illegally during the June 24 GOP runoff contest with incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.
By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog
Chris McDaniel isn’t ready to quit. Rather, channeling an inner John Paul Jones, he has just begun to fight.
McDaniel, a two-term Mississippi state senator, alleges thousands of votes were cast illegally for Thad Cochran by Democrats who crossed over during the June 24 Republican runoff for U.S. Senate, which Cochran, the incumbent, won.
The challenger wants a new round of voting. Like Jones, he won’t surrender, so don’t even ask.
Jones fought the British seeking to rule the seas. McDaniel, in what is arguably the hottest political contest in the country, wants Mississippi.
He’s not fighting alone.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called Monday for a “vigorous investigation” into the alleged fraud on the radio show of conservative host Mark Levin.
“What happened in Mississippi was appalling,” Cruz said on Levin’s show. “The conduct of the Washington, D.C., machine in the Mississippi runoff was incredibly disappointing. The ads they ran were racially charged false attacks, and there were explicit promises to continue and expand the welfare state.
“Nobody has suggested that the Democrats who voted in the primary will actually vote Republican in the general election. Instead, they were just recruited to decide who the Republican nominee was, and that’s unprincipled and it’s wrong. In the past week, we’ve seen serious allegations of voter fraud, and I sincerely hope no Republican was involved.”
McDaniel attorney and former gubernatorial candidate Mitch Tyner said Monday the campaign is poring over absentee ballots and accompanying envelopes in Mississippi’s 82 counties. Campaign volunteers are trying to find voters who cast ballots in the June 3 Democratic primary and thus were ineligible by law to vote in the GOP runoff. Mississippi is an open-primary state, meaning voters don’t have to declare a party affiliation when registering to vote.
“We’re looking to see how many ineligible voters voted in the runoff. That’s the simple process,” Tyner said. “Once we’ve completed that, then we’ll file a challenge. That challenge will be filed first with the Mississippi Republican Party Executive Committee. Then two days later, an appeal can be filed for judicial review.
“We’ve had all sorts of leads sent to the campaign and my law office on voter fraud, and we want to ensure that the integrity of this election is not compromised. The correct remedy is a new election.”
The certified results show Cochran actually gained ground on McDaniel by more than 1,000 votes. The Mississippi Republican Party on Monday delivered its certified results to Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. The results put Cochran ahead by 7,667 votes.
Both the McDaniel campaign and election integrity group True the Vote, which has filed a lawsuit, are pressing their claims on voting irregularities. The McDaniel campaign is even providing 15 awards of $1,000 apiece for any tips that lead to the arrest or conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud during or in the runup to the primary.
“The allegations of criminal misconduct against the Cochran campaign and his close associates continue to mount,” McDaniel said in a statement. “Mississippians deserve a full accounting of the unbecoming tactics the Cochran campaign used in their attempt to drive ineligible voters to the polls in June.”
True the Vote’s lawsuit against Hosemann and the state Republican Party — with 12 Mississippians listed as co-plaintiffs — might be headed to the U.S. District Court in Jackson after a change of venue motion was filed by U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi Judge Michael P. Mills on Monday in Oxford. The lawsuit seeks to compel public inspection of the election records.
“Voters should be confident that the outcome of their election represents the true will of the electorate,” Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True the Vote, said in a news release. ” The only way to put speculation to rest is to examine election documents and see whether or not the process was abused. Our suit takes up the case of concerned citizens who were wrongfully denied access to these publicly available election documents, refusing them protections extended to us all under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.”