Cochran backer: McDaniel 'deserves his day in court'

CHICAGO — Henry Barbour, a top adviser to a super-PAC that backed Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) for reelection, said Cochran’s primary challenger “deserves his day in court” with his challenge to Cochran’s win.

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“Look, he deserves his day in court. Let’s let the court decide what’s appropriate and fair and let’s move on to the general,” he told The Hill at the Republican National Committee’s summer meeting in Chicago.

Challenger Chris McDaniel on Monday called on the Mississippi Republican Party to name him the nominee because, he argued, Cochran’s 7,667-vote win was largely due to Democrats who had illegally voted in the GOP runoff. His campaign offered evidence of what it said were more than 15,000 votes that should be thrown out.

The Mississippi GOP on Wednesday said it would not hear the challenge and instead directed McDaniel to take his case to court.

Barbour, an RNC committeeman for Mississippi, did agree that there were likely some illegitimate crossover votes that contributed to Cochran’s win, but he estimated the number at closer to 1,000 and said McDaniel’s evidence was “pretty thin.”

“He says he’s gathered a bunch of evidence, best I can tell it’s mighty thin,” he said. “Clearly there were some number, I’d say probably between 500 and 1,000 people, who had voted in the Democrat primary who appear to have voted in the Republican runoff who were not eligible to vote. We don’t have any disagreement on those.

“The rest of his stuff all seems pretty sketchy to me. When he starts talking about Facebook posts and polling numbers and that he just wants the party to name him the nominee, that seems a stretch.”

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