Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) declared victory in his hard-fought primary battle with state Sen. Chris McDaniel last Tuesday.
McDaniel sees things differently.
Though Cochran won with nearly 7,000 votes, McDaniel has yet to concede, and his team is compiling evidence to challenge the results of the June 24 runoff in court.
At issue are thousands of votes McDaniel’s team says were illegitimate crossover votes — that is, voters who cast ballots in the Democratic primary and went on to vote in the GOP runoff, which is barred by Mississippi election law.
Cochran made no secret of pursuing African-American Democratic voters in the runoff, and the significant turnout increase in heavily African American counties in the runoff indicates that tactic was a large part of what drove him to a win. But it’s also given conservatives fodder to charge Cochran stole the election from them.
There’s no statute in Mississippi to force a recount, so a legal challenge is McDaniel’s only recourse. And his campaign says its already found more than half of the illegitimate votes they’d need — over 3,300, as of Tuesday afternoon, after examining less than half the state’s counties — to raise sufficient doubt about the outcome for a judge to rule in their favor and call for a special election.
The process will be expensive for the cash-strapped McDaniel campaign. And it needs to happen quickly, lest the courts believe the race is too far into the general election for a challenge to be appropriate. But McDaniel isn’t backing down.
Cochran’s team, on the other hand, is over it.
“We have moved onto the general election. The primary is over. We have [moved on], and so has the public,” Cochran campaign adviser Stuart Stevens told The Hill.
CROSSROADS: American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, two GOP-aligned groups, have reserved $20 millionin fall airtime in key Senate battleground states. The states included are Alaska, Iowa, Montana, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina, with the largest purchase being a $5.5 million purchase in Alaska. An adviser for the group indicated Crossroads plans to get involved in some House races as well.
GA-SEN (OPEN): Citizens for a Working America, a pro-David Perdue super-PAC, hit GOP primary opponent Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) with a new ad Tuesday, suggesting Kingston’s campaign has received money from Palestinian convicted felon Khalid Satary. The 15-second ad is part of an additional $500,000 buy from the super-PAC, bringing its total ad spending to $1 million.
But Perdue came under fire Tuesday for comments he made during an interview with the Macon Telegraph editorial board. In the interview, Perdue agreed that Americans are “arrogant teenagers” and that “the rest of the world gets it.” Former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel (R), a former opponent who’s backing Kingston, assailed Perdue for his comments and called on him to apologize to the American public.
LA-SEN (LANDRIEU): A Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday found Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) heading to a runoff with Rep. Bill Cassidy (R), and a tie there, with each taking 47 percent support and just 6 percent undecided. Among those voters supporting an independent candidate or those undecided in the November race, 68 percent prefer Cassidy, while only 11 percent would move to vote for Landrieu in a runoff.
Meanwhile, Cassidy picked up the endorsement of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), a significant get for him as he battles off two other Republican candidates hoping to draw votes from his right flank.
MI-SEN (OPEN): Rep. Gary Peters (R-Mich.) leads Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land (R) by 5 percentage points, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey. The poll, which shows Peters with 41 percent and Land with 36 percent, is the sixth statewide poll in a row to have Peters ahead of Land.
AK-SEN (BEGICH): Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) released a new ad featuring endorsements from three Anchorage mayors, including a Republican, touting his “clout” and push against the Environmental Protection Agency.
MN-SEN (FRANKEN): Republican candidate Mike McFadden’s campaign manager Brad Herold will be leaving his position, McFadden’s campaign confirmed Monday. Herold will still serve a role in the campaign as a senior adviser, but McFadden will announce a new campaign manager in the next couple of days.
OR-SEN (MERKLEY): Though Republican candidate Monica Wehby’s campaign is adamant about her support for the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, Wehby sounded uncertain about the issue in an interview with a conservative radio host Friday. When asked whether she supports the bill, she claimed she hasn’t “read every single aspect” of the bill but that she doesn’t condone discrimination “as a general concept.”
NH-SEN (SHAHEEN): Republican candidate Scott Brown surpassed $2 million in his second-quarter fundraising total with some help from former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Romney hosted an event for Brown in Chicago on Sunday night and will formally endorse the candidate at a rally in New Hampshire on Wednesday.
BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE
NRCC: The National Republican Congressional Committee is targeting 10 Democratic candidates with robocalls accusing them of parroting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) “cookie-cutter talking points.” The targets: Amanda Renteria (CA-21), John Lewis (MT-AL), Aimee Belgard (NJ-03), Ann Callis (IL-13), Sean Eldridge (NY-19), Aaron Woolf (NY-21), Kevin Strouse (PA-08), John Foust (VA-10), Nick Casey (WV-02) and Staci Appel (IA-03).
GOP TOUTS WOMEN: A top aide to Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) emailed Capitol Hill colleagues and K Street associates a list of the GOP’s top female candidates on Tuesday, which was obtained by Roll Call. The list highlights Martha McSally, in Arizona’s 2nd District; Mimi Walters, running in California’s 45th District; Marianette Miller-Meeks, running in Iowa’s 2nd District; Elise Stefanik, running in New York’s 21st District; Mia Love, in Utah’s 4th District; Barbara Comstock, in Virginia’s 10th District; Patrice Douglas, running in Oklahoma’s 5th District; Nan Hayworth, in New York’s 18th District; Wendy Rogers, in Arizona’s 9th District; and Darlene Senger, running in Illinois’s 11th District.
CO-06 (COFFMAN): Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-Colo.) Democratic challenger, Andrew Romanoff, released a new Web ad charging Coffman has been “trying to deny women the right to choose” for 25 years. “Mike Coffman still doesn’t trust women to make the right choices. Nothing’s changed,” a narrator says in the ad.
TX-23 (GALLEGO): A local NBC affiliate pulled down an ad from a super-PAC backed by the Koch brothers that attacked Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) on the Veterans Administration scandal. The Gallego campaign had complained the ad was “blatantly false” because it says he voted against a bill he voted for.
CHRISTIE: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) declined to express an opinion about the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision Monday. In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Christie replied, “The point is: Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong? At the end of the day, they did what they did.”
The New Jersey governor also addressed the possibility of entering the 2016 presidential race, saying he’s “not running for anything at the moment.” But Christie was adamant to say that the George Washington Bridge scandal was no longer on voters’ minds, implying that it wouldn’t harm his chances in 2016 were he to run.
SANTORUM: Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) is already making a movie about the Supreme Court ruling on contraception that came down on Monday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"I believe that we can win."
—President Obama, botching the U.S. World Cup chant of “I believe that we will win”