Cochran attorneys want McDaniel runoff challenge dismissed

A legal challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) runoff election win should be thrown out because it was filed too late, lawyers for the senator argue.

They say Chris McDaniel, who beat Cochran in a GOP primary but then lost the runoff election, waited too long to challenge the runoff result, according to a report in the Clarion-Ledger.

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McDaniel filed a challenge with the state Republican Party on Aug. 4, alleging widespread voter fraud. His challenge came a month and a half after the June 24 runoff.

Cochran’s attorneys point to a 1959 state Supreme Court ruling that found challenges to “state, congressional and judicial district” primaries must be conducted within 20 days of the election. 

State law is murky on the issue, however. It explicitly requires the 20-day deadline to file a challenge with the state Republican Party’s executive committee only for county election challenges. It includes no such deadline for district and statewide challenges.

But in a 1959 ruling, one Mississippi court said it would “be senseless” to assume the deadline didn’t apply to all other elections.

McDaniel must file a response to the motion from Cochran’s legal team to dismiss his lawsuit by Tuesday. A hearing on the issue is set for Thursday.

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