Mississippi challenger wants runoff rerun

Getty Images

State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) campaign is continuing to fight their loss in the Mississippi Senate runoff two weeks ago, raising the idea of a new election to settle alleged inaccuracies. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Mitch Tyner, a lawyer for McDaniel's campaign, told reporters at a press conference Monday afternoon they have been “surprised at the amount of evidence that continues to come forward that shows there has indeed been election fraud in this case" and are moving forward with legal challenges to the victory for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). 

"The correct remedy is a new election," Tyner said.

With the state Republican party set to certify results on Monday evening, Tyner said McDaniel staff and volunteers had been poring over the ballot boxes in every one of the state’s 82 counties looking for further irregularities on Monday, the first day counties were required to turn over all of the ballots cast in the June 23 runoff for the candidates to review.

And he noted specifically that the campaign is finally able to take a look at absentee ballots, which he called “very ripe for fraud” and hadn’t been available for review until Monday.

“Today is the first time that we have been able to go into the courthouses, look in the ballot boxes and determine exactly what is contained in there, which includes the absentee information. And so, that is what we’re going after today,” Tyner said.

Cochran was declared the winner of the state’s GOP primary runoff election by about 6,700 votes after finishing second in the first primary, driven to his surprising victory in part by aggressively courting support from African-American Democratic voters.

McDaniel’s campaign has accused Cochran of “stealing” the race through the tactic and has been combing the poll books for examples of Mississippians who voted in the Democratic primary and then switched over to vote in the GOP runoff, which is barred by state election law.

They hope to find enough illegitimate crossover votes to mount a successful challenge to the election results in court and force a special primary election. 

From an initial review of the ballots, McDaniel’s campaign said last week they had found at least 4,900 voting irregularities. 

Tyner said they wouldn’t know the results of the full review until later Monday night, but they planned to file a challenge to the election results first with the Mississippi Republican Party and then, 10 days later, in court. He added that the campaign doesn't believe it needs to find more illegitimate votes than Cochran's lead to launch a legal challenge.

"We don't have to have 6,700 [to move forward with a legal challenge], however, I would be surprised if we don't find 6,700," Tyner said. "If there are that many ineligible voters then it's already an automatically a new election."

However, Cochran’s campaign fanned out across the state as well, dispatching representatives to all 82 courthouses to oversee the review of ballot boxes. Jordan Russell, Cochran’s spokesman, said the campaign has “been pleased with the results.”

“The county by county results reported thus far are revealing an extremely low number of crossover votes from the June 24th election. As the process moves forward, the conversation is shifting from wild, baseless accusations to hard facts,” said Russell.  “As we have said from the beginning, the run-off results are clear: the majority of Mississippians voted for Senator Thad Cochran.”

This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. and 7:52 p.m.