Missisippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) said the Republican Party should be "purged" of people who paint their fellow members as racists.
McDaniel made the comment Friday while lambasting his primary runoff loss against Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranMcConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown Lawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups MORE (R-Miss.) on June 24, which he blamed on "race-baiting" by Cochran's allies.
"That's despicable," he went on.
"It goes to show that there are elements within our own party that have to be purged … There are elements within our own party that have no business being Republicans. Republicans should not behave in that fashion."
McDaniel was speaking on "Focal Point," a radio talk-show based in Tupelo. His comments were reported by The Associated Press.
Cochran won the Senate primary run-off after the none of the three candidates in the original June 3 primary gained enough votes to win.
In the intervening weeks, his campaign worked to bolster support among a range of voters, including African-Americans.
Ads that ran on black radio stations prior to the runoff said McDaniel would cut social welfare programs such as food stamps if he succeeded in the race.
"Because of the race baiting, because of all the nasty things they said about me and conservatives in this state, they pushed more than 40,000 Democrats into the Republican runoff," McDaniel said in the interview.
Cochran's campaign said the senator's "tremendous support" from African Americans stemmed from "a 40-year relationship built on respect and fairness."
"If Chris McDaniel had asked African-Americans to vote for him rather than complaining about them participating in the process, he might have won the election," press secretary Jordan Russell told The Associated Press.