Chris McDaniel legal team: Election challenge is more than likely

Chris McDaniel
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel prepare to leave Jean's Restaurant after visiting patrons on June 23, 2014 in Meridian, Miss.

Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s legal team said on Wednesday that they will more than likely challenge the tea party favorite’s loss in the Mississippi Republican primary runoff election between him and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.

Mitch Tyner, an attorney representing McDaniel, said at a press conference in Jackson that voting records are still being reviewed but enough evidence -- including crossover votes -- has already been found to make the challenge and that official paperwork would likely be filed within the next 10 days.

McDaniel’s team is still rigorously reviewing poll books in search of voter irregularities. Cochran, a six-term senator, had made an appeal to African-American and Democratic voters to help him in the GOP runoff on June 24. He was declared the winner by 7,667 votes. McDaniel, who led after the first round of voting on June 3, alleges there was fraud in crossover votes and has been trying to raise money to fund the legal challenge.

Team Cochran maintains that while there may have been a few hundred improper votes, there were not enough to change the outcome of the race.

“We found a lot,” said Tyner, including false affidavit ballots and invalid absentee ballots. “We are committed to finding it and rooting it out and stopping it.”

State Sen. Michael Watson, a lawyer who is also representing McDaniel clarified that no official challenge has been mounted yet. “This is a process that’s afforded to the candidate … It’s a look under the hood of the election process in Mississippi.” He added if not enough evidence was found, McDaniel would not mount a challenge.

McDaniel was noticeably missing from the press conference.  

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Supreme Court is reportedly seeking additional information about McDaniel’s request for additional voting records.

As msnbc previously reported, Mississippi law does not prohibit Democratic voters from casting ballots in Republican primary elections as long as they did not vote in a Democratic primary.  But McDaniel’s team is pointing to a controversial interpretation of the law that would prohibit anyone who planned to vote for a Democrat in November from voting.