Miss. court again sides against McDaniel

The Mississippi Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reconsider its ruling denying state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) access to unredacted poll books for inspection, as he seeks to overturn a Senate primary.

McDaniel has yet to concede in his primary fight with Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), despite Cochran’s 7,667-vote lead in the runoff, which was held more than a month ago.

The challenger has spent the past month poring over poll books looking for illegitimate votes and went to the state Supreme Court in pursuit of poll books without personal information removed, but was denied once before.

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That information, which includes birthdates, would help him evaluate whether any residents who voted in the Democratic primary came out to vote again in the Republican runoff, an action barred by Mississippi elections law.

Cochran made an aggressive play for African-American Democrats in the runoff, and McDaniel’s supporters believe much of Cochran’s win margin is comprised of “illegitimate crossover votes.”

The Mississippi Supreme Court’s refusal to rehear McDaniel’s case leaves him with even fewer options as he ponders whether to continue his fight. He’s drawn criticism from some conservatives, most notably commentator Ann Coulter, and continued scrutiny over his motives and plans.

And it remains unclear what grounds McDaniel has to pursue a legal challenge. On July 16, McDaniel’s campaign said they were likely to file such a challenge within the next 10 days, but none has emerged, and McDaniel’s campaign has yet to provide evidence for its claims of voter fraud.

Meanwhile, a Texas federal judge on Thursday appeared skeptical of a lawsuit filed by a conservative election-monitoring group, True the Vote, against the Mississippi secretary of state and the state GOP seeking unredacted poll books in nine Mississippi counties. The judge did not indicate when she’ll rule in that case.