June 27th, 2014
09:26 AM ET
3 months ago

McDaniel says 'hundreds' of irregularities found in Mississippi race

(CNN) - Three days after Mississippi's bitter Republican Senate primary runoff ended, the challenger in the race refuses to concede, charging that "this was not a fair election. Activity was illegal, at worst. Unethical, at best."

And in an exclusive interview with CNN affiliate WLOX, state Sen. Chris McDaniel said he was shocked at how fellow Republicans verbally attacked him after he announced a primary challenge against six-term Sen. Thad Cochran.

McDaniel, who enjoyed strong support from tea party and anti-establishment groups, narrowly edged out Cochran in the June 3 primary, but with neither man cracking 50% (there was a third Republican candidate on the ballot who grabbed 1.5% of the vote), the contest moved to Tuesday's runoff, which Cochran won by fewer than 7,000 votes.

Tea party leader connected to photo conspiracy involving Cochran's wife found dead from possible suicide

Cochran's victory was aided votes from African-American Democrats, who were actively courted during the runoff campaign by pro-Cochran forces. According to Mississippi law, voters are not required to register with a political party, and anyone who doesn't vote in a primary election can cast a ballot in either party's runoff.

But McDaniel told WLOX on Thursday that his camp has already found irregularities in Tuesday's election.

"Republicans are supposed to choose the Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate. That's not what happened here. Thirty-five- to 40,000 Democrats jumped into this race and apparently tried to decide it. They have their own primary. We have ours. What we're looking for right now is irregularities. We already found hundreds, and we're going to keep looking," McDaniel said.

McDaniel added that those irregularities include people who first voted in the Democratic primary, then illegally crossed over to vote in the Republican runoff.

McDaniel repeated his earlier vow to use every legal maneuver available to fight Tuesday's results, adding that "integrity of elections matters. It always has mattered."

And McDaniel he said that the pro-Cochran forces should be ashamed of the strategy they used in urging black Democrats to vote for the senator.
"They called me a racist. They used race-baiting tactics. They scared people to the polls. That's no way to behave. They used people, and that's no way to behave," he said.

More than 61,000 more people voted in Tuesday's runoff than in the June 3rd Senate primary. It's extremely rare that turnout increases in a runoff election. And turnout in Mississippi's majority African-American districts increased at a much higher rate than overall turnout.

But those who backed Cochran defend their actions.

In an interview with CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Wednesday, Henry Barbour, the nephew of former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who steered the pro-Cochran Mississippi Conservatives, said, "In America, we have a right to vote. And in Mississippi, we don't register by party. So whites and blacks get to vote in the Republican primary if they decide, and I think the Constitution gives them that right. So, I'm afraid he's [McDaniel] wrong, I mean, people have a right to vote and I'm damned proud to have asked them for their support."

Complete Coverage: 2014 Midterm Elections

And Barbour said that some Democrats may have been converted.

"I'll tell you, some of the Democrats that we were recruiting to vote for Sen. Cochran - some of them have called me talking about switching," Barbour said. "This is how you grow."

In the interview with WLOX, McDaniel also said he has "no hard feelings" toward Republican leaders in Mississippi, but that he is still shocked at how they attacked him.

"I never thought that me, as a two-term Republican elected official, would be treated the way I was. It was character assassination. They [fellow Republicans] attacked me every chance they got. They ridiculed me. They mocked me. And that was an about-face from the way they treated me just prior to my primary challenge."

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story


Filed under: 2014 • Chris McDaniel • Mississippi • Senate Primaries • Senate Race • Thad Cochran
soundoff (581 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    Just do a quick internet search on McDainel and review his extreme views and you will know why the majority of the people of MS voted for Cochran

    June 27, 2014 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    "I never thought that me, as a two-term Republican elected official, would be treated the way I was. It was character assassination. They [fellow Republicans] attacked me every chance they got. They ridiculed me. They mocked me."

    Weird, huh? Generally your fellow Republicans save this kind of stuff for President Obama. Let that be your consolation gift and move on.

    June 27, 2014 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Keep talking GOP and minorities keep hearing you.

    June 27, 2014 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    And the Tea Party has treated people with sweetness and light? Please. All I'm hearing is the high-pitched sound of a whiner, and at the end of the day, when they lose, the Tea Party does nothing but whine.

    June 27, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  5. Fred

    If there were irregularities left wingers did us a favor. He was not the best candidate. The point is to get a Republican led senate regardless of their conservative rating.

    June 27, 2014 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  6. DRAKE MALLARD

    You know, maybe that's their ultimate plan is to only get to half the country and let only half the country vote in the first place. Because on that note, this whole thing's a farce. Voter fraud is a complete red flag. There's about as much voter fraud in this country as there is people being struck by lightning bolts

    June 27, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. KC

    McDaniels is upset because Mississipians understand their constitutional rights as well as their voting rights. McDaniel does not represent the state of MS only the population with their hidden prejudices, those who wait on him to tell them what the consitiution means and whats in it, and people whose children attend thriving school districts. Chris is crying talking about how people in his own party attacked his character and intergity; when there were supports affiliated with his camp sneaking into a nursing home to take pictures of Cochran's wife and after the primary election supports of his camp get caught inside the court house where ballot boxes are left and he has the nerve to call foul. As a resident of the MS, "Just Go Away"

    June 27, 2014 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. excuse my rant

    "Republicans are supposed to chose the Republican nominee in the U.S. Senate. That's not what happened here. Thirty-five- to 40,000 Democrats jumped into this race and apparently tried to decide it. They have their own primary. We have ours. What we're looking for right now is irregularities. We already found hundreds, and we're going to keep looking," McDaniel said.
    _______________________________________________

    First of all, Mississippi has an open primary, meaning anyone of any political affiliation can vote in the primary of the party of their choice. So there's nothing illegal about that. Second, it was this exact type of thing that was encouraged by Rush Limbaugh with his "Operation Chaos" in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primary, which was an attempt to vote for the person trailing to prolong the primary. He even encouraged Republicans to change their affiliation to Democrat so they could vote in closed primaries.

    Oh how quickly the Republicans forget the past just when it suites their needs.

    June 27, 2014 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Welcome to the world of shady Republican politics! The RINOS are charging to keep from losing power. Politics is many things, but fair ain't one of them!

    June 27, 2014 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. Tampa Tim

    Like most rejected republican losers, McDaniel has taken a page out of the handbook of McCain and Mittens. My advice would be for Chris to move to Texas where an idiot can easily be elected.

    June 27, 2014 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    Eric Cantor gives a little rah rah speech, steps down from his nifty 2nd in command seat, and moves on. TeaPer Chris McDaniel throws the biggest temper tamper yet seen in politics.

    TeaParty USA. Unfit emotionally. Unfit to govern.

    Rah. Rah.

    June 27, 2014 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  12. Anonymous

    The best solution is write in. Cochran has no real defense against that, in November.

    June 27, 2014 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. Anonymous

    Get over it! You lost! Take it like a man and move on.

    June 27, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  14. Amanda

    WAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! He used the rules against me!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! He used Ronald Reagan's strategy and convinced democrats to cross over!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! I'm a big baby, because I was outsmarted!!! What a joke this guy is. The fact that he came as close as he did to a senate seat, should scare all sane people, democrat and republican, alike!

    June 27, 2014 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  15. ritmocojo

    What did he expect when one of the first things he said to Mississippians at the beginning of his campaign, "I'm not going to do anything for you in Washington..,"? That was a classic 'kiss of death' to self if it could ever be possible.

    June 27, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. 1twinsfan

    Hundreds of votes for your opponent shouldn't be considered "irregularities."

    June 27, 2014 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  17. O'drama ya Mama

    McDaniel: I've found hundreds of irregularities. There were hundreds of people that voted for the Thad and not me.

    June 27, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Sniffit

    Let me get out my Teatroll Rosetta Stone and help you with this one:

    "Irregularities" = "Hispanic and African-American sounding names"

    "See!?!?! Look...this says George Jefferson voted in our primary....don't you find that suspicious???"

    June 27, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. Kata Strophic

    What a bad loser. How old is this guy–five?? So in spite of the fact that in ALL elections in the U.S. for ALL time there have been just about 0 voting irregularities, all of a sudden, there's hundreds in Mississippi? And other than these "voting irregularities," his big problem with Cochran was that MORE people–and of different colors and parties, no less–actually had the nerve to vote for him? Since when isn't "more" the very definition of democracy? Obviously McDaniel just isn't getting the picture. Not only is he not the Messiah, but the people who voted for Cochran did NOT want him.

    June 27, 2014 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Searcher1

    Just ask John McCain how it felt to be attacked by George Bush in the South Carolina Primary. The GOP has been known to eat its own......

    June 27, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "They scared people to the polls."

    No, YOU scared people to the polls. It was telling them about YOU that scared them, you Teatroll secessionist bigot pig.

    June 27, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Sniffit

    Let me get out my Teatroll Rosetta Stone and help you with this one:

    "Irregularities" = "Hispanic and African-American sounding names"

    June 27, 2014 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. rbrthng

    he still do not understand why he is being attacked by fellow republicans
    u r on wrong side of the fence. bro

    June 27, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. Dr. Brown

    Lies from both men, Democrats converting, too funny, how dare they exercise their right to vote, believe me you ain't seen nothing yet, see you in November guys, time to take out some trash

    June 27, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    The truth really hurts the GOP. McDaniels, you are a racist, and if your opponent capitalized on that, oh well. Just like Rand Paul, who feels businesses should be allowed to serve whomever they want.

    Say it with me folks.... Jim Crow is trying to make a comeback.

    June 27, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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