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. Zelda's mom

    Did he except support and/or money from out of state or from people who were not registered Republicans in the state in order to run his campaign? Why is he whining and trying to close off the voters when the pockets are wide open?

    June 27, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. just asking

    anybody that has any doubt that democrats will screw with and tamper with elections should just look at this case. they have no business voting in a republican primary run off but their evil, deceitful ways are just too much to suppress. if there is an election, they must screw with it, tamper, mess it up. after all, messing things up is what they do best. or is that blame others for their mistakes?? yeah, a real tough chice there.

    June 27, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. nancy Ruth

    Haley Barbour & his ilk are not part of the conservative majority! Cochoran Is a senile old bird & doesn't even know hat happened! If we can't even trust our election process we are in big trouble Theses blacks won't vote for Thaddy in the general election, they'll be back with their liberal masters!!! If we can't even trust our election process, then we've lost our country!! & YES, it is against the law to use churches ,but the lib blacks have been using churches from the beginning & have payed no consequences, & that's not right no matter what color you are! Who was it that said about the election process, " They bring a knife to the election, you bring a gun"???!!!! None other than barak huissen Obama! And islam is a peaceful religion!!!

    June 27, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  4. Merle

    Dwight, Read the article! it said 61,000 MORE people voted in the run-off than in the regular primary election! and by LAW in Mississippi, if you voted in the Democratic primary, then you are barred from voting in the Republican Run-off election. McDaniel is correct to want to have all ballots checked to see that any one who voted in the Dem Primary did not vote in the run-off. If they did,, then their vote should not count, and be thrown out. I would bet that they will find many that voted that should not have. now will they find 7000? who knows? But McDaniel has a right to do so. My question to all is: What happens IF, they find 7000 illegally cast ballots that changes the outcome? then what?

    June 27, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. pjoe

    Looks like several counties in Mississippi are barring people from reviewing voter rolls (which by law are suppose to be public).

    June 27, 2014 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. LuangTom

    There are other sources besides this site that have shown the election-lists of some counties that indicate the voters being checked-off on the primary for Democrats on June 3rd and again on this past Tuesday. How is it that one can vote in two primaries? Something is amiss and it is more than the candidate being a sore loser.

    June 27, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. blome republiklans blome

    hey just asking ? I didn't realize Bush43 and Cheney and Rumsfeld were democrats.

    June 27, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Now we know why tea partyers are referred to as the "lunatic fringe" of the GOP

    June 27, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  9. AmericanBlues

    "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." Not to a Democrat.

    June 27, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. Citizen_123

    Nobody likes a sore loser!

    June 27, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. excuse my rant

    Hundreds of irregularities, huh? Ok, name 27. Should be a piece of cake with so many to pick from.

    Ready? Go!

    June 27, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. alex

    This is nothing new. Americans always unite when we see a threat to our government, like the tea party for example.

    June 27, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. AmericanBlues

    "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." Sorry McDaniel, you are way to honest for their blood. They are the NEW Republican party (don't forget, they despised Regan too).

    June 27, 2014 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Big Ben

    This guy thinks the black vote should be counted as 3/4 a vote. People are voting against the T-party, because they don't like these loud-mouth arrogant bullies. Took pictures of an old woman in a nursing home. Only low-life would do that.

    June 27, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Mcdaniel is a sore loser....he needs to move on to the political oblivion he so richly deserves......

    June 27, 2014 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Colonel Cornpone

    Each times he whines, 10 votes off. We see the Tea Party at last pried open. It's a collection of terminal whiners.

    June 27, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Namelinda

    McDaniel should not be surprised that his fellow Republicans turned on him because that is what they do: Fight Dirty and use underhanded tactics. Also you need to remind yourself you ran on a tea party platform that would hurt the poor forgetting that Jesus Christ himself said to take care of the poor. You cannot win over God!

    June 27, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. sammieb51

    OMG, Just Asking blames the Democrats for screwing up the election. HELLO – it was a Republican Primary and they were, after all, just following the laws of the state. What is funny is the State of Mississippi Tea Party 2nd in Command killed himself over his involvement with the dirtbag tactics McDaniels chose to use by taking and publishign pictures of Cochran's disabled wife. That is low low low class even for a tea bagger.

    June 27, 2014 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. potter82

    "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."

    IT DOESN'T MATTER!! Anyone who didn't vote in the Democratic primary had a right to vote in the GOP primary. That is completely within the rules of the election. If people voted in both than yes their vote should be struck out but if not too bad, you lost within the confines of the rules. McDaniel should just give up and go back to talk radio where he can go stomp the ground exclaim "WAHH It's NOT fair!" like a petulant child.

    June 27, 2014 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  20. GODZILLA1

    Oh BOO HOO McDaniel – time for you to take a nap. A dirt nap like your operative who took the photo of Cochran's sick wife did earlier today. One less T bagger – the world is better off without him.

    June 27, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. ksdksdksd

    Can't have it both ways. The Republicans enjoyed the benefit when they wanted to extend the democratic primary in 2008 in Mississippi and other state primaries when Republicans voted in democratic primaries for Hillary Clinton.

    June 27, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. bobby lunsford

    Hey 2/3 of you republicans ran as democrats in miss and 1 to 2 years after you were elected you changed your affiliation to republicans and left the democrat citizens without representation that we voted for . Well mr. whinnie liar you taught the democrats how to do this so now how does it feel? It should be no party you vote who you want to. Isn't that a democracy? Thank you for your assistance in giving us something to vote against. YOU. Just wait til November. Put your ear to the ground and listen... Rebellion is coming and GOP will stand for Get out/of Politics..... We are going to vote you out.... Go back to the liar, cheating, trash talking whiner club and don't come out again....

    June 27, 2014 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. msyellarose

    Sounds like a sore loser.

    June 27, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Genefreak

    To just asking...

    Democrats did nothing illegal, immoral, or fattening here. The law in MS, just like here in GA, allows cross party voting.
    Republicans can vote in Democratic primaries also.

    If you don't like the law, get it changed, but don't rail against the other party. I'm not surprised African-Americans voted
    Against someone who is a member of Sons of the Confederacy with a talk show history of disdain for non-whites.

    June 27, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    "anybody that has any doubt that democrats will screw with and tamper with elections should just look at this case. they have no business voting in a republican primary run off but their evil, deceitful ways are just too much to suppress."

    Look up Mississippi election law: as long as they didn't vote in the initial Democratic primary, they are able to vote in the Republican run-off. You might find it helpful to learn something about the way our democracy functions.

    June 27, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
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