McDaniel: Not Sure I Can Vote for Cochran in November

Image: McDaniel: Not Sure I Can Vote for Cochran in November Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel.

Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 10:59 PM

By Greg Richter

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Tea party candidate Chris McDaniel is refusing to concede defeat while he tries to determine if illegal voters helped nominate six-term Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran.

And he said if he does end up losing, he's not sure whether he'll support Cochran in November.

McDaniel said he will have to "pray about it and talk to my family about it" before considering backing Cochran, he said Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." 

McDaniel lost the runoff by only about 6,700 votes, but he told Fox News' Sean Hannity his campaign already has uncovered 1,000 illegal votes in one county alone.

Mississippi holds "open" primaries, meaning that voters don't have to register with a party and can vote in whicever primary they want, but not both. A primary voter is limited to voting in the same party's runoff in which he or she voted originally.

However, someone who voted in neither primary can vote in either party's runoff. That rule caused Cochran, who finished second to McDaniel in the primary, to court Democrats who didn't vote on June 3 to vote for him.

"It was shocking. I'm a two-term state senator. I've been a Republican since I was 13 years old. … I considered these men and women to be my friends and colleagues, but desperation and the quest for power pushed them somewhat over the edge," McDaniel said.

McDaniel and his supporters charge that two flyers and a robo-call made in support of Cochran to black voters were racially charged. At least 35,000 Democrats are believed to have voted for Cochran, easily giving him the win.

"They were pushed there by an overt action, an aggressive action, on the part of Sen. Cochran's campaign that was filled with race-baiting, lies, distortions," McDaniel told Hannity. "He literally ran the latter three weeks on food stamps. He ran on voter suppression, and he ran on pork."

McDaniel said conservative Republicans should be fighting for principle rather than aligning with liberals.

"They say they're going to fight the liberals in Washington, but they embraced the liberals in Mississippi just to win the election," he said.

Dick Morris, a former presidential adviser to Bill Clinton who supported McDaniel told Hannity it is vital for Mississippi Republicans to vote for Cochran if he remains the nominee to avoid allowing the Senate to remain in Democratic control.

"It is no tribute to him to elect a Democratic senator from Mississippi," Morris said.

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