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McDaniel campaign: We want a do-over

Citing "thousands" of illegal votes, an attorney for tea party candidate Chris McDaniel wants a re-do of his June 24 primary against Senator Thad Cochran.
Chris McDaniel speaks with supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Mississippi on June 19, 2014.
Chris McDaniel speaks with supporters during a campaign rally in Madison, Mississippi on June 19, 2014.

An attorney for Chris McDaniel, who lost his primary challenge to Republican Senator Thad Cochran in Mississippi last month, claims their campaign has found “thousands” of illegal votes and will demand a new election.

McDaniel attorney Mitch Tyner said Monday in a press conference outside the Hinds County Courthouse that his campaign was finishing a county-by-county review of ballots before making its evidence public and moving forward with a formal challenge to the Mississippi Republican Party. But he said they had found “several thousand that are absolutely ineligible voters” already and that the “correct remedy” was to hold another vote. 

“As we've gone through this process, we're surprised at the amount of evidence that continues to come forward that shows us that there has indeed been election fraud in this case,” he said.

McDaniel has refused to concede since Cochran won the June 24 runoff by about 6,700 votes, pledging to contest the results in court.

“We don’t have to have 6700 [illegal votes], however I would be surprised if we don’t find 6700,” Tyner said. 

Cochran’s campaign has challenged McDaniel to come forward with detailed examples of voter fraud, rather than regular boasts of legal challenges to come. The McDaniel campaign has yet to present its case that the election was tainted by fraud.

“If they have hard evidence, put it forward,” Cochran adviser Austin Barbour said last week in a press conference.

McDaniel and his allies claim Democrats voted illegally for Cochran, who courted their support in the final stretch of the race. Mississippi law does not bar Democratic voters from participating in Republican primary elections so long as they did not vote in a Democratic contest. But McDaniel’s camp has seized on a disputed – and likely unenforceable --interpretation of the law that would bar anyone who planned to vote for a Democrat in November from participating as well.

A conservative pro-McDaniel blogger, Charles C. Johnson, also published an interview last week with a man who claimed he was promised $16,000 by Cochran’s campaign to pay black residents cash for votes. Johnson paid the source for his testimony, however, and the Cochran campaign has strongly denied any wrongdoing.