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. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    As I stated yesterday, the GOP's outreach program to Blacks and women is a complete bust.

    Hear, hear. I'll vote to that, too !
    This is why the COUNTRY won't elect a Republican into the WH, they are cheats, liars, and opportunists to name a few of their lEAST offensive qualities.
    Why did Rush say that Blacks that voted for Cochran were "Uncle Toms"? WTH is that about?
    You'd think that the entire GOP would be glad that Blacks somewhere in this nation are actually voting for them...period.
    But no. McDaniel, who knws all and sees all, stated that these same Blacks had no intention of voting for Cochran come November. How does he know?
    I've voted Republican in the past.
    It is not something I am particularly proud of, but I have.
    Last time I checked we were free in this country to cross Party lines and vote for whomever the hell we wanted.

    June 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. dcase20

    Whaaaa! Now tell that to the thousands of voter the tea party is trying to purge from the voter rolls.

    June 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Novum Benedictus

    Historically Mississippi has had "hundreds of irregularities" during elections. Just ask those who fought for Civil Rights in that state alone.

    Mr. McDaniel, no amount of spin, "prayer", talk radio punditry, or FOX News can take away the inevitable. You were beaten, legally.

    This should be a calling card for those preaching party purity. It doesn't work with ethnic cleansing and it won't work in the political arena.

    June 27, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  4. budshot

    Yep, it's a corrupt system, like most of the South, but this tea party nutter knew the rules going in. It's only because he lost that he's whining.

    June 27, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Tsk. tsk. tsk

    June 27, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Steve

    I don't understand the comments here. Find the facts out and then make an opinion. What the law states is that they can cross over party lines and vote in either the Dem. or Rep primaries but NOT both. What happened was Dems voted the week earlier in their primary and then went and voted again in the Rep. primary a week later. THAT MY FREINDS IS AGAINST THE LAW. Just another example of voter fraud. It happened in Carolina last month. The whole purpose is to get the weakest opponent to face the Dem. challenger.

    June 27, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. eric

    I think he wants votes for him to count and all others voided.

    June 27, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Martha in CF

    Aw-poor McDaniels lost. Suck it up and go home.......He is nothing but a poor loser!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 27, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "There's a reason Northerners retire and move to the south."

    Yeah, the weather. What's your point?

    June 27, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Oh Do Shut Up Already

    McDaniel couldn't represent today's conservative movement, and especially the Tea Party, more than he is right now with this predictable crying foul when the outcome of the democratic process is not what he had hoped. McDaniel epitomizes everything that is wrong with the right side of the aisle in 'Murrika, circa 2014.

    June 27, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Michael A. Lewkowicz

    For McDaniel, black people voting is an irregularity.

    June 27, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Typical tea party whining when they don't get their way.

    June 27, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. xplorer

    a 20 year old went to a elementary school and shot 20 first graders
    another guy went to an amish school and killed 5 children

    marilyn manson – "to me the devil stands for rebellion"
    marilyn manson – "charles manson is one of my idols"

    charles mansons satanic cult murdered 8 people in 1969
    then he carved an X on his forehead to mimic malcom X and promoted race war
    then while in prison he turned the X into a swastika and promoted the idea he was the antichrist

    all of charles mansons vicitims were white....... jewish media labeled him a racist and brought the swastika and hitler into "racism" making a religon a race

    now it is ban guns because singing about violence is freedom of speech?

    Charles Mansons satanic cult killed 8 people................ one of the most popular goth singers today promotes charles manson and satanism................... how did people not think school shootings would happen

    Satanist and Al Qaida and other radical interpretations of religions just want to cause arguments

    yeah and 10 million kids who all think its fun and games ok........ and then 20 of them that dont think its funny and want to be serious and they want to kill people.... thats 20 school shootings and 100s of kids dead

    that’s how life works.......... he could of promoted work and some people would be workaholics.......... he could of promoted spaghetti and people would eat it.................... people say it is "just TV" and then pay huge amounts of money to buy commercial spots................. its "just TV" and then create shows like sesame street.............. its "just music"............... so is the alphabet song

    June 27, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. VinnyP

    Sounds like a very sore loser. Does ANYONE even think politics is not dirty business? Seriously. But, McDaniels can take what he learned and come back stronger & better educated. He's not OWED the election. Please.

    June 27, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Explain to me again what is wrong with an African-American voting against a candidate who is blatantly racist and the victim of most of the attacks in a runoff?

    June 27, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Las Vegas Rocks

    The key here is McDaniel sounds like a 3 year old in the pre-school playground who just lost a game of tag.

    McDaniel, like most of the tea partiers, cannot accept that their kind of hatred is NOT WANTED by the vast majority of Americans because they have nothing positive to offer.

    June 27, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Richard M

    If there were crimes committed the guilty should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There is not greater violation of civil rights than vote fraud because it compromises the entire country.

    June 27, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    The issue is that most of these democrat voters already voted in the democratic primary which is illegal!! I don't blame him for not conceding under those circumstances.

    June 27, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. ET

    @Ariela. The GOP didn't lose; the Tea Party lost. And I'm totally satisfied with that 🙂

    June 27, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. MNClownfactory

    Funny how it is okay for Republicans to vote at Democratic primaries and change things but when the shoe is on the other foot is is a bad thing? McCaniels does not hold American values period. I don't care about a majority in a small corner hole in Mississippi where they were killing ppl for being black when I was a boy. A representative sent to Washington must represent his constituents using the knowledge that their views should be tempered by a community we call the United States. Imagine if everylocal district was afraid of change and strangers and science America never would have gotten out of the 18th century. McDaniels is another Tea Bagging 1850's reformist.

    June 27, 2014 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Rick

    Explain to me again what is wrong with an African-American voting in a runoff against a blatantly racist candidate of whom most remarks are targeted at him?

    June 27, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Malory Archer

    This guy is sounding like Al Gore in 2000.


    Yeah, except Al Gore took his loss gracefully and exited politics – and NEVER spoke disrespectfully of the guy who occupied the WH in his stead.

    June 27, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. what up

    Thomas, tea anyone? That was hilarious!

    June 27, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Fair Voter

    The issue that everyone is ignoring is that most of the Democrats that voted have already voted in the Democratic Primary which is illegal. McDaniels SHOULD fight under those circumstances.

    June 27, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. DaveinIL

    Fair and legal are two different concepts. As long as the later was satisfied the former just becomes whining.

    June 27, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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