June 27th, 2014
09:26 AM ET
4 years 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. Ted

    Had McDaniel won undeer these same rules would he be complaining? I think not.

    June 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Does this idiot McDaniel not realize what an "open" primary means? You lost! Get over it. Your vision of taking Mississippi back 60 years doesn't sit well with most people. Go put your white sheets back in the closet.

    June 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  3. Jose

    McDaniel lost because the people who would be hurt by his policies voted for the other guy. Looks like democracy in action.

    June 27, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. tet1953

    Was he stomping his feet when he said it wasn't fair?

    June 27, 2014 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. Thomas

    Tea anybody ?

    Rick Perry is the last bastion of American sensibility , when Rick remembers the Alamo he uses his brains !

    He understands the way coyotes think and can talk to cows . Rick caries a concealed 9mm even in the bathroom and wears bullet proof pajamas. When Rick Perry says mixing cocktails and being gay is the same thing , he is speaking of his own experience , and should only be taken as a suggestion .

    Look at what Texas has done for human rights , environment , BBQ .

    Rick Perry , he's the Man 2016 !

    June 27, 2014 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Randy, San Francisco

    Sour grapes on the part of Tea partiers. Don't scape goat blacks and other minorities for what you consider irregularities as a result of voting laws. Thanks to hate groups in the GOP like the Tea Party, rebranding and out reach efforts to minorities are a total failure.

    June 27, 2014 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. OvernOut

    What a whiner! WhatsamattaU, you hit the nail on the head.

    June 27, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Michael

    Go away!

    June 27, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. teedofftaxpayer

    Gotta love the right wingers, if they lose – "it was unfair", if they win – "it's the will of the people". Sharon Angle complained that Harry Reid stole the election here in Nevada 4 years ago, but what she can't get through her head is she scared the bejesus out of the voters. That people who actually hated Harry voted for him any way.

    Mississippi like most southern states do things a little backwards. They let parties cross the lines and vote in the other's primary. It's not a secret it's done all the time. And the democrats voted for the "devil they knew rather than the devil they didn't".

    June 27, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  10. WillB

    McDaniel wants every vote cast by a non-white disallowed. Says he won't stop until he returns Mississippi to it's rightful place in 1860.

    June 27, 2014 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  11. Malory Archer

    LOL – so says the guy whose campaign staff "somehow" got locked inside the courthouse with the ballot boxes after polling closed on election night! The irony – it burns!

    June 27, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. MICK

    Liberals will do anything to win, they must be terrified of the TEA party lol.

    June 27, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. s

    He lost in an open primary, just like he would have lost in an open election. Does he want elections to be conducted differently?

    June 27, 2014 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  14. O'drama ya Mama

    There is only 1 important question to ask. Would McDaniel being complaining that Democrats voted if he actually won? Me thinks not

    June 27, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  15. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    So it's ok for you to lie to and mislead blacks into voting for you but if your lies don't work it's illegal?

    Typical of his kind.

    June 27, 2014 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  16. Malory Archer

    Cochran is a disgrace... gets a bunch of ignorant democrat voters to go to the polls to remove his primary contestant who was beating him. I know these democrat voters have no brain or scruples, and think nothing of voting more than once in an election – but the GOP does not condone this (probably why they lose so many elections)


    You're joking, right? The reds have been doing this in elections for years – with the blessing and direction of their rotund radio god no less! The dems just took a page out of HIS playbook!

    June 27, 2014 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Areason4reason

    Actually, I think the system in MS should be available in all states.

    As an independent who normally cannot vote in primaries – I miss out on true candidates all the time because I end up having to choose between two extremes.

    June 27, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. MeanOldMan

    Whining and complaining is all the Tea Party knows how to do. It's obvious from the ones already elected that they have no clue as to how to govern or even how a government is supposed to work.

    June 27, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Virginia

    First it was thousands of irregularities ....now it's hundreds....give it a few more days and it will be a few. lol

    June 27, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. Sniffit

    "He does realize that it's no longer illegal for black people to vote in Mississippi, right?"

    I think he's just gunning for a compromise, like maybe only counting their votes as 3/5 of a vote or something.


    June 27, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |

    Being from the South, I understand Sen. McDaniel's position.

    No GENUINE Republican rightfully, ethically, or in any other way wins an election because black folks voted for them. That's just plain wrong. It just ain't right.

    It's proof that Sen. Coceroon is in cahoots with the colored folks which proves that Sen. McDamniel's is right, he ain't no real Republican.

    Them black folks vote for Damicrats not Republicans who are real Americans.

    Bottom line is that no black votes for a Republican should be counted.

    Go get'em Sen. McDaniel!!! You and the Tea Party are the only hope for white America !!!!

    Sen. McDaniel, your refusing to accept the will of the voters of Mississippi, black and white, proves that you and your kind are not deserving of a seat in the US Senate!!!!

    June 27, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "they must be terrified of the TEA party lol."

    Who wouldn't be? You get go get in a cage with an angry, inconsolable, raging, brain damaged chimp and tell me how scared you are. Then, once you've had your face reconstructed, you can explain to everyone why you want to let an army of them run our country.

    June 27, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Malory Archer

    Cochran is a disgrace... gets a bunch of ignorant democrat voters to go to the polls to remove his primary contestant who was beating him. I know these democrat voters have no brain or scruples, and think nothing of voting more than once in an election – but the GOP does not condone this (probably why they lose so many elections)


    I seem to recall a few years ago a mentally challenged candidate sprung up out of nowhere and somehow managed to beat the Democratic candidate being backed by the South Carolina Democratic party in a senate primary. Turns out the guy was being funded by some deep pocketed rightwing shadow group. Google "Alvin Green" for the whole sordid tale.

    June 27, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. don in albuquerque

    cry me a river.....

    June 27, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. jtdvideo

    No points for second place!!

    June 27, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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