IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Mississippi GOP won't hear McDaniel election challenge

Mississippi’s Republican Party has declined to hear Chris McDaniel’s case for challenging the state's GOP primary run-off election results.
Senate Incumbent Thad Cochran Faces Challenge From Tea Party-Backed State Sen. Chris McDaniel
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel looks on during a campaign rally on June 23, 2014 in Flowood, Mississippi.

Mississippi’s Republican Party has declined to hear Chris McDaniel’s case for challenging the state's GOP primary run-off election results.

"Our 52-member volunteer Republican State Executive Committee has been asked to spend just five hours listening to legal arguments and then overturn a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes," Joe Nosef, current chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party, said in a statement sent to msnbc. "It is neither prudent nor possible in a single day for any political committee to process and review the significant amount of complex evidence necessary to make such a decision, and attempting to do so would be prejudicial to both candidates."

In the letter obtained by msnbc, Nosef told Tyner that "the public judicial process will protect the rights of the voters as well as both candidates, and a proper decision will be made on behalf of our Party and our State."

McDaniel's relentless challenge to the election results has drawn ire from some conservatives, who have called on him to let it go, particularly as the seat is expected to stay in Republican hands, with longtime Sen. Thad Cochran heading into the general election. Cochran's team has long dismissed McDaniel's allegations as baseless.

"Chris McDaniel is very disappointed he will not have the opportunity to present his election challenge before the State Executive Committee,” Tyner told the AP in a statement. "The party was the perfect venue in which to hear the challenge since it was responsible for the election, but we will move forward with a judicial review as provided for under Mississippi code."

Tyner did not immediately respond to msnbc’s request for comment.

McDaniel, the tea party darling and state senator, has been fighting the results of the primary run-off since the night of the June 24 election, when he lost to Cochran by more than 7,600 votes. McDaniel’s team cried voter fraud because, alleging that Cochran recruited Democrats to vote in the primary even though they had no intention of supporting the Republican nominee in November.

McDaniel announced earlier this week that he had filed a challenge to the election results, presenting what he said was evidence that more than 15,000 votes were improperly cast. 

“They asked us to put up or shut up,” he said Monday at a press conference. ”Here we are. Here we are with the evidence.”

Election law expert Rick Hasen reviewed the McDaniel campaign's 28-page briefing on the evidence and audio testimonies it gave to the media earlier this week, and he believes the Republican candidate's challenge is "quite a long shot."

"Even if much of what was in there is true, and there's good reason to believe it's not, it does not seem to be enough, especially for the remedy he's asking for, which is not a new election, but for the loser to be declared the winner."

Hasen noted that the McDaniel campaign is asking to be declared the winner, though McDaniel has also said he'd be open to yet another election.

"It's very, very, very rare" for the "loser to be declared the winner," Hasen said.