McDaniel Set to Make Ballot Challenge in Miss. Runoff

Image: McDaniel Set to Make Ballot Challenge in Miss. Runoff Republican Mississippi state senator, Chris McDaniel. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 01:09 PM

By Andrea Billups

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Chris McDaniel, a Republican Mississippi state senator, is expected to release Monday afternoon a ballot challenge in the June 24 runoff election against incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran that he claims will reshape the hard-fought primary results, The Hill reported.

McDaniel and Cochran faced off in a contentious election battle that saw the veteran U.S. senator squeak out a runoff win with 7,667 votes that were certified in July.

McDaniel, who never conceded the race, has spent the last month pouring over polling books with his supporters and says they have uncovered more than 8,300 irregular votes — enough to put the runoff challenge before a court and seek a re-do.

McDaniel claimed Cochran skewed the race by courting black Democratic voters to his side in the state's open primary. Now, he is expected to release evidence of voting irregularities and more campaign information at a news conference set for 2:30 p.m. at his lead attorney's office in Jackson, television station WJTV reported.

Tea party supporters of McDaniel have continued to put pressure on Cochran over the primary runoff, showing up last week at a speech he made at the Neshoba County Fair wearing red tape over their mouths and carrying signs that read "betrayed," the Jackson Free Press reported.

McDaniel has on his side powerful allies in Washington among the GOP. They include Ken Cuccinelli, the president of the Senate Conservatives Fund, which gave $70,000 to his campaign. Cuccinelli called Cochran's tactics "lamentable," the Washington Examiner reported.

"No, we don't regret [the donation]," Cuccinelli told the Examiner. "I mean, our candidate won among Republicans in both rounds of the primary — and nobody disputes that, including Thad Cochran."

He added: "When you look at what they did — the Establishment did — to try to hold onto their power, I mean, they literally adopted Democrat — worst Democrat — tactics," Cuccinelli said. "The race-baiting, the pimping-out welfare and et cetera is what Thad Cochran was doing and the super PAC was doing."

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