State Sen. Chris McDaniel has presented no evidence to support his claim that voter fraud pushed Senate incumbent Thad Cochran to victory in Mississippi’s GOP runoff. And without evidence, the tea party-backed hopeful is going to have a tough time overturning Cochran’s nearly 6,800-vote win. But a week after the balloting, McDaniel isn’t giving up. McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said yesterday that the campaign continues to examine poll books for possible examples of crossover voting that is prohibited by state law — people who voted in both the Democratic primary June 3 and the Republican runoff June 24. “We haven’t determined our specific legal recourse,” Fritsch said. “We’re kind of in a holding pattern, to a certain degree, while we’re collecting evidence.” Mississippi voters don’t register by party. State law says the only people banned from voting in the June 24 Republican runoff were those who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary.
McDaniel and his tea party patrons insist that Democrats — most are black in Mississippi — who voted in the runoff and helped propel Cochran to victory violated the crossover voting law. Some also are claiming that the Democratic Cochran supporters are now required to vote for Cochran in the general election. A court ruled that policy unenforceable. And McDaniel himself hasn’t committed to supporting Cochran.
Mainstream Republicans have disavowed McDaniel’s complaints about Democrats voting in a Republican contest at a time when the GOP is struggling nationally to expand its traditional base of white voters.
And some of the groups that spent millions supporting McDaniel have walked away. The Club for Growth, which spent more than $3.1 million to help McDaniel, quickly congratulated Cochran as the winner and moved on.