A retired chancery judge who is now a Methodist minister will oversee a lawsuit that challenges Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s victory in a Republican primary runoff. The chief justice of the state Supreme Court appointed retired Chancellor Hollis McGehee of Lucedale to handle the case that state Sen. Chris McDaniel filed Thursday. McDaniel demands that a judge declare him the winner or order a new runoff between him and Cochran. Certified results of the June 24 runoff show that Cochran, a six-term incumbent and former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman, defeated the tea party-backed McDaniel by 7,667 votes. It would be unprecedented for a court to order a do-over of a statewide election, and part of McDaniel’s argument hinges on an unenforceable law. His lawsuit said Mississippi GOP officials violated the rights of real Republicans by allowing people to vote who didn’t intend to support the party’s nominee.
Rick Hasan, a professor of law and political science at University of California-Irvine, said he is skeptical McDaniel’s challenge will succeed. Hasan said McDaniel’s lawsuit tries to support its factual claims by using Facebook posts and opinion polling that a judge might reject.
Hasan, who has a website called electionlawblog.org, said a candidate in any state would have to show convincing proof of fraud or illegal voting to persuade a judge to order a new election.