GOP Official: Investigate Sen. Thad Cochran's Campaign

Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 10:33 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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The Mississippi Republican Party on Tuesday certified that incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran won his primary runoff race, but a GOP chief in another state wants a further investigation into the Cochran campaign.

Missouri Republican Chairman Ed Martin has requested that Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus appoint a task force to probe "racially divisive ads and robocalls" critical of challenger Chris McDaniel, reports The Washington Post.

On Tuesday afternoon, Martin emailed letters to Priebus and other RNC members voicing his concern about advertisements that made the international press. According to an article in the June 27 edition of The Daily Mail, a series of ads linked McDaniel, a state senator, to a Ku Klux Klan ally, suggested his tea party backers were racist, and warned that voting for him could lead to cuts in government benefits.

Martin's concerns came a day after Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, slammed what he called the "D.C. Machine" and said he wanted an investigation into the advertising.

In one of the ads, it was stated that a Mississippi newspaper, The Clarion Ledger, had reported that one of McDaniel's supprters had ties with the Klan.

In another ad, the same narrator said that if the tea party and its "racist" ideas won the race, "we will be set back to the '50s and '60s."

Martin said he is concerned that RNC member Henry Barbour could be responsible for the ads. The Daily Mail reported that Barbour, leader of a pro-Cochran super-PAC, may have ties to "Citizens for Progress," which ran the ads.

"We cannot object to the Left smearing conservatives with such labels if we do not rebuke those on our side who sink to such tactics," Martin said in his letter.

Barbour told The Post that his group ran no racially insensitive ads, and that he does not know who sponsored the commercials.

"We ran no radio ads that had anything to do with the KKK or race, or anything like that," said Barbour.

Martin said he wants Priebus to appoint a special committee and report back to members by Aug. 7, at a meeting being held the day before the Aug. 8 general RNC gathering.

The African-American vote was an important one for Cochran and his allies, who courted Democratic voters in the runoff. In 24 counties with a black majority, turnout increased by about 40 percent, The Post reports.

McDaniel's campaign has said it plans to fight against the election results, and has alleged voter fraud in Cochran's win, in which he defeated McDaniel by 7,667 votes.

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