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. Comments still open?

    Wah wah wah. Let me win or I will tell my mommy!

    June 27, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  2. Mark P

    Sore loser McDaniel is the kind of guy Jimmy Breslin calls a "mutt".

    June 27, 2014 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. cloudy

    Poor poor McDaniel- I would not vote for him for dogcatcher

    June 27, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  4. Bobby

    McDaniel got tons of publicity, but still could not win, so now the election is "unfair." Sore loser.

    June 27, 2014 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. cal

    poor poor Mcdaniel- this is just so sad

    June 27, 2014 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  6. PtBarnumBoy

    I'd say there were more than a few hundred irregularities. Seems a bit irregular to me that anyone at all would have voted for this guy.

    June 27, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. Kaleb

    Those calling it fraud or saying it's illegal: It was a RUNOFF! You think voting twice in a runoff is illegal? That's the POINT of it! Or did you think only those who DIDN'T vote in the original primary are allowed to vote now? That being said, I am sad to see the results. While I am a Democrat, I want good, honorable people in the Congress. The Democratic challenger wouldn't beat either of these guys, and I think that Mr. McDaniel is a far more ethical person who says what he believes and believes what he says.

    June 27, 2014 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  8. Allon22

    Imagine that. 50 years after the Freedom Riders risked their lives in Mississippi, their legacy is some Tea Party nutballs screaming about voting irregularities. My my. How the worm has turned.

    June 27, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Hillcrester

    Please try to run as an independent–challenge the law preventing that–so the Dem will win the seat. That will show Cochran what for!

    June 27, 2014 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. John

    McDaniel actually called the election unethical. The man ought to know. He's the definition of it.

    June 27, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  11. Its is so nice to see that Republicans are being so fair minded about the election.

    "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."

    One Republicans is pretty much like another. So just kiss and make up.

    June 27, 2014 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  12. NameLue Blacknell

    Such a crybaby! wah! wah! Ask your boss-rush limballs-he started telling repubs to vote for demos! Remember–What goes around- comes around!

    June 27, 2014 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. AMERICA1ST

    There were THOUSANDS of irregularities. How many votes did McDaniel get again? Yea, that many.

    June 27, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. AMERICA1ST

    McDaniel's aka, the worst loser in American history.

    June 27, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  15. carol baltzell

    McDaniel is a sore loser. He needs to sit down and and shut up.

    June 27, 2014 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. blf83

    No, Mr. McDaniels, you LOST. People who come in second do not win. Your racism ignores the law which is not only the law, but should be the law of all states to be the rule of, by, and for the people.

    June 27, 2014 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  17. roofinreality

    I'm not sure what was irregular. Did the article point that out?
    After all, he lost by 6,000+ votes. Is he going to prove some irregularity that caused that big of a difference?
    He's making a fool of himself, although he may get sympathy from some the next time he runs for something.

    June 27, 2014 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  18. belinda

    Hundred's ? He's going to need thousands. McDaniel is a Whiner and a bad sport.

    June 27, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. belinda

    You would think instead of McDaniel's insatiable quest for power, that he might mention the death of a dear friend. I wonder why he didn't ? Maybe there's another scandal brewing.

    June 27, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. andrew

    McDaniel is a self-serving, preaching, finger wagging slug, who hates the United States of America so bad that he sent his men to take pictures of a poor woman in a nursing room bed without her permission, to use her picture as ammo to ambush his opponent by some bizzare scheme he cooked up; some ridiculous, illegal scheme.
    Now, men are in jail and a man is dead because of it. But McDaniel, who doesn't care about anyone but himself, whines, cries, denies, spits, and threatens. Can you believe this?

    June 27, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  21. TNPatriot

    bobo

    Tea Party.... started by average Americans who wanted less Taxes and smaller Government.

    ----–
    Sorry bobo, but the TRUTH is that the Tea Party was NOT started by 'average Americans', unless you really belive that Charles Koch is an 'average american'......... he and his brother are anything but!

    June 27, 2014 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Joe

    I think they should just change the way they do the vote. If the State pays to run a primary (i.e. to reduce the number of people running in the election) then every taxpaying member of the state should be able to vote in every primary n matter their affiliation. If Republicans want a special election to decide who will run for office under their banner, they should pay for it themselves (that way they get to decide who can vote). This way maybe a few independents might have a chance (or just people who don't agree 100% with the "official party line".

    June 28, 2014 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  23. john smith

    Lulz. Thanks, Obama.

    June 28, 2014 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  24. American Worker

    This has made it clear that the two party system is a farce upon the American People.

    The establishment controls both.

    It's time to stop playing in the RNC and DNC primaries that are controlled by the political elite.

    It is overdue for the two parties to compete with the citizenry in Local, District and State General Elections.

    Run-Offs in the General Election is now a necessity.

    June 28, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  25. The Awful Truth

    Ironic how the Lefties are spewing pure hatred towards Mayfield and mocking his suicide for involvement in the pic of Cochran's wife in the nursing home..BUT, they had no problem when Barry trotted out the families of all the dead Sandy Hook kids to try and sell his anti-gun agenda. Progressive liberal parasites are the lowest form of life on Earth.

    June 28, 2014 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
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