After losing a Republican primary runoff in June, Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel vowed action. Sure, it looked like incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran had prevailed, but McDaniel was convinced the senator’s victory was illegitimate and the challenger made no secret of his intention to fight back.
It took much longer than expected – Cochran’s general election is now just 91 days away – but McDaniel moved the process forward yesterday.
McDaniel, who lost his Republican Senate primary challenge to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in late June, formally filed a challenge Monday with the Mississippi Republican Party’s executive committee over the election results of the runoff election.“They asked us to put up or shut up,” McDaniel said in a short press conference Monday. “Here we are. Here we are with the evidence.”
One of the interesting things about yesterday’s announcement is the fact that McDaniel swung for the fences. I largely expected him to either call for a do-over or a recount based on a new ballot standard. But not this guy – the right-wing challenger said he should simply be declared the winner of the primary in which he received fewer votes. Indeed, he’d like that declaration to happen immediately.
His attorney made this quite plain: “We are not asking for a new election, we are simply asking that the Republican Party actually recognize the person who won the runoff election.”
And according to McDaniel’s lawyer, that’s McDaniel, election results notwithstanding.
But what about this “evidence” the challenger claims to have presented?
Rick Hasen, a national expert in elections law, took a closer look at McDaniel’s pitch and came away unimpressed.
[A]ny election lawyer with some experience who would say that McDaniel will be declared with winner with this dossier is smoking something which I believe is still illegal in the state of Mississippi.Finally, I think it is clear that McDaniel should become a national member of the Fraudulent Fraud Squad. His website today still accuses Democrats of “stealing” the election. It is a serious allegation, but one not backed by the evidence. Such charges are pernicious when they are not backed by proof. For weeks McDaniel promised that proof and has not delivered.
It sounds like McDaniel should resist the urge to start looking at apartments in the D.C. area.