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. George

    OMG!! I guess the folks in Mississippi figured-out the Tea Party CRAP. It's a real shame that "some" people get to vote.(sarcasm) Chris, please put on your "big-boy-pants" and take your loss like a MAN. The lesson in this is that you will see more and more of this happening because the Tea Party has done NOTHING for this country except show their backside. After several years on doing nothing but complaining they are now on the way OUT. We'll get them one by one. They have no idea how to govern at all. Are you tired of the government in this country; then MOVE out. Try your crap somewhere else!

    June 27, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. robin

    what a poor sport. i wont be crying any tears for this guy.

    June 27, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. gustifer53

    You can bet your last dollar, that if McDaniel would have thought about getting the democratic black vote first he would be dancing in the street. He is no different then any other Republican or Tea Party Candidate, they will cheat you to beat you any ole way they can. For example, Gerrymandering by them, Voter Suppression by them. Voter intimidation by them the list goes on and on. Mr. McDaniel's how does that shoe fit on your foot?? Don't like getting out smarted do you. Well that is all it was, you got out smarted and LOST. Don't come crying to the Democrats, cause we already know how it feels, you people have been cheating us for a long time. Actually what your challenger did is not illegal. The people just didn't like what they saw in you and your extreme and insane Party, so the Democrats did what they needed to you to keep your extreme measures to yourself. Believe me when I say that the Tea Party is very Dangerous to OUR Country. Just take a look at the 2 Las Vegas cop killing, the nuts at the Bundy ranch, that should tell you a lot about their Party. No thank you Mr. McDaniel's. Guess what? The people have spoken!!!

    June 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  4. Marie

    Politics has taken an ugly turn in the republican corner. Part of this outcome is our problem. We are too busy, or uninterested to understand the real issues and the backgrounds and voting records of the people running. The establishment can say anything...and we believe. We need to protect our privilege to vote by making educated choices.

    June 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Anonymous

    irrelevant of your opinions, it is a Violation of the Fair Voters Act (42 U.S.C. §§ 1973–1973bb-1) and the Voters Right Act............It is illegal to vote for one party then vote for another party w/out changing Voters Registration (the Law is a tad bit more detailed, you must be registered for this Law to become effective)..........4 months prior, a Dem Primary was determined............I have viewed various opinions and no, this is irrelevant of crying or sniveling, it is the law.........For a Republican to dismiss a standard, is a Democratic tactic............Grow up, do the darn properly..........Plus, Cochran, your an old man, please enroll at a Senior Citizen Living Facility..........

    June 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. david saint

    lol typical tea party candidate..doesnt win, so throws a hissy fit and claims he only could have lost if the other guy cheated...at what point do these people become aware they are only embarrassing themselves, and their party

    June 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Republicans shouldn't vote for Republicans, and Democrats shouldn't vote for democrats the American people should vote for the right candidate. The Tea party has to realize that they have won some elections because of the crossover vote.

    June 27, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. Chris

    I would challenge it. The GOP establishment machine better figure out quickly that hating their base is not good strategy. I have no dog in the hunt but the way Cochrane's camp marketed to African Americans by race baiting was absolutely shameful and disgusting. McDaniel could likely run as an independent and win and he should. The majority of Republican voters supported him.

    June 27, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  9. CK

    JIm. You are wrong.

    June 27, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. schill24

    So you lost by 6,300, go ahead and subtract 100 votes from it...lol

    June 27, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Pam

    I bet McDaniel used to go home crying to mommy if someone else played with his truck in the sand box! Give it up McDaniel!

    June 27, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. MsOwl

    Firstly, if you're not from MS then don't complain. Secondly if you are then you should know for a fact that there are some very shady things going on. For example how can there be more votes than there are voters in ONE county. Get the facts straight first and if it isn't your state then stay the hell out of others business.

    June 27, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. Old Coot

    HAAAAH!!! Conservatives love to CONSTANTLY project what they themselves truly are onto liberals... Like always calling us whiners.... Well Obama's election and this proves who are the TRUE WHINERS... And LYING sore-losers to boot... It's right-wing crybabies. Hey WHINERS... You lost fair and square, cut the BS assertions and get over it.

    June 27, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. George

    I am not much a comment person but this take sthe cake. As a person who was raised in Mississippi–live elsewhere now, I can tell you that you all are finding out what we in his community have known for a long long time: After all is said and done he is STILL a brat! Thank God he wasn't elected. Mississippi is already behind and someone like him would push Mississippi that much further to the fringe. He knew it was an open primary when he ran. It has been an open primary state for as long as I can remember. After loosing he complains about the rules? BRAT!! He is exactly the same BRAT as he was in highschool. I believe most people call them tools. What is the old saying: Don't hate the player. Hate the game.

    June 27, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. Roger Jeffrey

    The Good Ole Boy Club is alive and well in Mississippi and they know all the tricks to win.

    June 27, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Fran

    " If you want law cahnged, then use the system we have to change it or crawl back under your rock and be quiet.".... wow wish the POTUS would abide by this. Seems only certain people/parties are required to live by those rules

    June 27, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "What's good for the goose...."

    You act like this hasn't happened before with GOPers trying to swing an open Dem primary? What a joke. It's in he very nature of an open primary and happens all the time, both parties having tried to do the "tactical voting" thing and, really, IT IS NO BIG DEAL. This one is just getting attention because the whole primary race between these two whackjobs was so off-the-charts ridiculous and chock full of stupid.

    June 27, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. SeanH

    @Justin I agree with your statement about these guys looking shady, especially Thad Cochran!!! However your hypocrite statement of "what is it about the GOP?" Come on dude almost your whole party not only looks shady but are the biggest Liars and crooks on the planet!!! I will name just a few: Nancy Piglosi, Harry Greid, Killary Clinton, Diane Feinsten, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Valerie Jarrett, Eric Holder, Barbara Boxer, Shelia (who thinks she still on the plantation) Jackson Lee, Charlie Rangel......and finally the number shady lying crook Barack Obama!!!! So Justin in short get you head out of you ass man because for you to label GOP politicians (who I agree with you) as shady and not to look at your own party and your messiah as the biggest liars and the most shady makes you a hypocrite!!!! Now here is one that you can sink you teeth into, Have you noticed that the women in the GOP and way, way better looking that the Democrat women? You want to know why that is? Because years and years of lying, cheating and working for Satan tears you sole apart and they are constantly fighting their inner demons that is why they are soooooo butt ugly!!! 🙂

    June 27, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Jean-Paul Sartre

    Thad won by doing exactly what the GOD of the Republican Party – he probably wouldn't be allowed in the party now – RAY-GUN, preached and did, he went across the aisle and recruited some of those Blue-Dog Democrats... This is perfectly legal and smart...

    June 27, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  20. J M Dove

    Mc Daniel lost because everyone knows that the Tea Party is like a new version of the KKK and most people want nothing to do with that.

    June 27, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  21. Anonymous

    There was a song a few years ago by Michelle Wright called "Take It Like A Man". He lost and needs to face reality. And his statement of 1000s of irregularities in voting sounds a lot like the tired, worn excuse "somebody said or somebody told me" He sounds a like Ellen Saubury in Maryland a few years ago when she ran for governor and lost but refused to accept the results. She even went to a governor's conference as governor elect but was only governor in her own mind–she lost and finally had to accept that fact

    June 27, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  22. Adam

    One of the problems here is that in Mississippi you MUST, by law, support the candidate in the general election that you did in the primary. Are you telling me those clueless black voters will ALL support Cochran in the general? Of course not. Therefore, yes, there are major problems here.

    June 27, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Roger

    If the votes are legal? Count them. If not throw them out. Pretty simple right? Now I'd like to ask a Thad backer what it is about Washington they like? Me? I may become a democrat in the general election or perhaps support another candidate. I will not cast a vote to continue on our current path.

    June 27, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Vince

    These people can never believe that sometimes...just sometimes...American's don't always share Tea Party priorities.

    June 27, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Ryan

    Tad's "victory" just feels dirty. I also love how people who have no clue are able to make sweeping, stereotypical judgements about a State they know nothing about. Come spend some time down here and you might change your tune. There's a reason Northerners retire and move to the south. Doesn't happen the other way around.

    June 27, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24