McDaniel: Declare me the winner

Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) demanded that the state Republican Party overturn Sen. Thad Cochran's June primary victory and declare him the winner in a Monday press conference.

"They asked us to put up or shut up. Here we are. Here we are with the evidence," McDaniel declared before yielding the podium to his lawyer, who said that the state party should overturn the election's results because of allegations of crossover voting from Democrats, many of them African-American. Cochran won the June 24 runoff election by 7,667 votes.

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"We anticipate that after they review the challenge that they'll see that Chris McDaniel clearly won the Republican vote in the runoff," said McDaniel attorney Mitch Tyner. "Chris McDaniel clearly won the runoff by 25,000 votes. ... We're not asking for a new election. We're simply asking that the Republican Party actually recognize the person who won the runoff election."

Tyner brandished a binder which he claimed outlined all the voters the McDaniel campaign says did or may have broken the law by voting in the GOP primary runoff after earlier voting in the Democratic primary, arguing there were more than 15,000 votes that should be thrown out.

While McDaniel's lawyer demanded a public hearing from the state Republican Executive Committee next Tuesday, he did not walk through what the actual violations were.

McDaniel also took a shot at Cochran's campaign, accusing them of race-baiting in the primary. Cochran's allies made explicit appeals to black Democrats to have them cross over in the primary.

"There is no place in the Republican Party for those that would race-bait," he said.

A number of Republicans have accused McDaniel of race-baiting as well following his targeting of black crossover votes. McDaniel has been refusing for weeks to concede the race.

After the press conference, Cochran's campaign said they had hired the firm of Butler Snow to represent them in the election contest, but said they remain confident in their outright victory and slammed McDaniel for continuing to drag out the contest. 

"Like other Mississippians, we have watched with interest as the McDaniel campaign has made repeated and baseless allegations of fraud and misconduct against not only members of the Cochran campaign staff, but also Circuit Clerks and volunteer poll workers around the state," said Cochran campaign attorney Mark Garriga. 

"The filing of this challenge marks the point where this matter moves from an arena of press conferences and rhetoric into a setting where nothing matters but admissible evidence and the rule of law," Garriga continued. "We look forward to holding the McDaniel campaign to the burden of proof that the law requires – and, we are dedicated to the defense of the votes of those Mississippians who voted on June 24 for Thad Cochran as their United States Senator, an election which has been as thoroughly reviewed and examined as any in modern Mississippi history."