State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) sounded a defiant note after falling short in his quest to topple Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranOvernight Defense: FBI chief confirms Trump campaign, Russia probe | Senators push for Afghan visas | Problems persist at veterans' suicide hotline Senators ask to include visas for Afghans in spending bill Shutdown politics return to the Senate MORE (R-Miss.), blaming his loss on crossover votes from “liberal Democrats."
Addressing supporters just after The Associated Press called the Senate runoff election for Cochran, he was introduced anyway as the “Republican nominee," a not-so-veiled reference to the fact that his campaign believes Democrats and African-American voters put Cochran over the top in the close primary.
Saying that there is “nothing dangerous” about his calls to balance the budget and stand up for conservative principles, McDaniel said “there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that is decided by liberal Democrats.”
McDaniel never conceded to Cochran, instead blaming the incumbent for winning “by once again compromising principles, once again reaching across the aisle, by once again abandoning the conservative movement.”
“Before this race is over, we have to make absolutely certain the Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” McDaniel said, leaving open the prospect of a legal challenge in the close election.
“Today the conservative movement took a backseat to liberal Democrats in the state of Mississippi,” the state senator said, adding that “there were literally dozens of irregularities” and “you know why.”