June 27th, 2014
09:26 AM ET
6 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. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Kris says:
    June 27, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm
    I just want you to know that I have been offended several times when watching this coverage over the last couple of days. I am the whitest white girl around and I think that the way you have been wording the story has been so racist. Whatever your views of African Americas are personally, you should never arrange your story in such a way that your views are made apparent. In this case, the way you are presenting the story makes it seem like it’s crazy that African Americans can vote any way that they choose. Your use of “Uncle Tom” and “Clan” in your story is horrendous. I hope now that you are being made aware of ways that you are offending people, you many changes your ways. Thank you.

    Thank you Kris. It looks like the TP only wants us blacks to vote how they want us to.

    June 27, 2014 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. CryBabies

    Just saw on CNBC...Headline...Hillary calls Obama "incompetant". Looks like HC is starting to eat her own.( if true)

    June 27, 2014 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. bobo

    Tea Party.... started by average Americans who wanted less Taxes and smaller Government. Big Government is Afraid of them!!!! Why? Big government needs to control people. They want you miserable so you keep voting for THEM! LOL

    June 27, 2014 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. jack

    just blame it on the vote

    June 27, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. SJAJR

    This is Mississippi. What did you expect?

    June 27, 2014 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Mathew

    The results of this vote seem close enough so that a re-count is not an outlandish request. That said–the challenger should show some class and refrain from insults and unsubstantiated charges of fraud.

    June 27, 2014 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. SixDegrees

    Loony the Loontard.

    June 27, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Thomas

    A Mexican law enforcement helicopter crossed into Arizona and fired two shots near U.S. border agents in what Mexican authorities later acknowledged was a mistake.

    Release the US Marine NOW !

    June 27, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    oh brother...you dummies who have commented above have clearly NOT done your research. you just follow the guy in front of you. why don't you read up on how this campaign was run. Cochran thought he would comfortably slide right back into Washington when he suddenly discovered he almost lost an election. so he brought in the big guns and preachers were paid off to preach in their Sunday sermons before the election, telling their parishoners that McDaniel didn't like blacks, would cut off welfare and any and all aid, scared the black community to death and 'plagued' everyone with robocalls to denounce McDaniel and the Tea Party and make the blacks think their lives would come to an end if Cochran didn't get re-elected. hell, they even brought in the guy you really hate, John McCain, to lend a hand. Read about it – it's on your beloved internet (where most of you go for an education, no real school for you fools). It's in black and white and sometimes even color – for all of you to read. this is why our country is going to hell in a handbasket. because of dumbies like you! sorry I said that, I meant MORONS!!!

    June 27, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. SJAJR

    Liberal/ Conservative? Is the world really that black and white? I have yet to see a concrete definition of the word liberal. It is an abstract that people use as an easy label to taint something negative.

    June 27, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Court529

    So now you have hundreds of instances of democrats voting twice in the primary. That's fraud! My bet is it will be well up into the thousands before it's finished.

    ______________________________________________________

    Please show me proof of these hundreds of people voting twice. Just because the head of the MS Tea Party says something that doesn't mean it's true.

    June 27, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. tom l

    "Nah, no he doesn’t. It’s his sense of reality is what’s mixed up. He made a post earlier today about how under the Bush administration the NSA was never caught making warrantless wiretaps. He’s got quite the imagination for such and enclosed space.

    I was trying to be nice Rudy. We all know he's a delusional attention seeker constantly chastising dems but never republicans. But he's an independent. "
    ======

    Tried to correct that mistake but it didn't post. Clearly you are correct about the warrantless wire taps and I don't know how it could have slipped my mind. I guess I was just focused on the "cell phone" but I freely acknowledge how wrong I was about that.

    And Wake Up, it is truly obnoxious of you to try and say that all I'm looking for is attention as if I don't have thought behind what I say and I'm just a child. Just because I have a difference of opinion does not make me attention starved, just means I have a different opinion. And I have constantly berated repubs and compared them to a gang like the crips vs. the bloods but you must have missed those posts that I have made. See, what it really is, is that you and the rest of the gang have very thin skin and can't take criticism and take it personally when I make my criticisms of the current administration so you then all have to make your mischaracterizations and attempts and to discredit me. It doesn't work though. I feel great. The only thing I am truly jealous of is how you get those cool icons. :)

    June 27, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. EsquireXII

    Here in Texas, I got a letter that I was being removed from the voting rolls because I was dead. The Secretary of States has simply looked at the Social Security Death Register and if it found your name there, they counted you as dead. Of course, many people have the same name and initial. It would have helped if they had at least limited it to the Texas. So I hope that the McDaniel people check the addresses to insure that it is not two people that have the same name. And yes dead people do vote. If absentee and early voting are allowed, it is possible that a person cast a legal vote and dies before election day. Yes that vote is legally counted.

    June 27, 2014 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Anonymous says:
    June 27, 2014 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm
    oh brother…you dummies who have commented above have clearly NOT done your research. you just follow the guy in front of you. why don’t you read up on how this campaign was run. Cochran thought he would comfortably slide right back into Washington when he suddenly discovered he almost lost an election. so he brought in the big guns and preachers were paid off to preach in their Sunday sermons before the election, telling their parishoners that McDaniel didn’t like blacks, would cut off welfare and any and all aid, scared the black community to death and ‘plagued’ everyone with robocalls to denounce McDaniel and the Tea Party and make the blacks think their lives would come to an end if Cochran didn’t get re-elected. hell, they even brought in the guy you really hate, John McCain, to lend a hand. Read about it – it’s on your beloved internet (where most of you go for an education, no real school for you fools). It’s in black and white and sometimes even color – for all of you to read. this is why our country is going to hell in a handbasket. because of dumbies like you! sorry I said that, I meant MORONS!!!

    Two words....
    Operation Chaos. Look it up. Rush I think it was, encouraged Republicans to vote in the Democratic Primary in 08. It looks like the Tea Party doesn't like it when it doesn't go their way. And shouldn't all Mississippians have the right to vote for whom is going to represent them? McDaniels is a loudmouthed racist and that's not what's needed in DC.

    June 27, 2014 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Norm

    Tea Party Republicans. I've got mine and I ain't a'sharin' it none, no how.

    June 27, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Kim

    If you can't play with the big boys, take your toys and go home.

    June 27, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. readerpan

    Mr McDaniel doesn't even know what the expression "race baiting" means. Or probably doesn't care what it means...he just likes the sound of it.

    June 27, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. ChrisM

    McDainel is done. Mr Sons of the Confeteracy , you TPers must be sooooo proud!!

    June 27, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Tom I really usually ignore your comments because they're all the same crap but you blamed me for something I didn't do. I don't run around chastising everyone, always thinking I'm right or having to have the last word, you do. And that's why I call you a delusional attention seeker. You came to this blog chastising Sniffitt I think it was in your first comment and you haven't stopped trying to prove how right you are since. I don't think I'm an expert on everything like you do. My comments are usually my opinions and my experience. You run around post to post attacking people and referring to us as the "gang". Then play the victim. Those things in my book scream "child". Regardless to your age.

    June 27, 2014 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    run as independent.

    June 27, 2014 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. tom l

    Wake Up,

    I never, ever say I am a victim. I am not a victim and don't have that mentality. it wouldn't even occur to me to use that word – I think that's the liberal mentality so it's just a false label. As far as "always having to have the last word or thinking I'm always right", are you saying that those exact words wouldn't apply to sniffit? Of course they do. The difference is that you agree with him about most things so you find his comments to be fine and mine to be different. That's cool. For the record, I bet I can list 5, maybe 10 issues that we agree on (many of which I have posted several times) but I can guarantee you that you don't feel that way nor do you know what we agree on.

    June 27, 2014 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  22. Pander Bear

    "irregularities" = black folk who voted for Cochran. McDaniel is the D-baggiest of Tea Baggers. He should take a cue from his buddy Mark Mayfield.

    June 27, 2014 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. ja

    The so called tea party itself is an irregularity, an insult to American history

    June 27, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  24. mike

    if you have any evidence of wrong doing put it out their for the world to see and get it over with .Also if these so called republican allies attacked you name them or just shut the heck up

    June 27, 2014 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. dianesef

    Can you say SORE loser?

    June 27, 2014 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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