Mississippi elections commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a November ballot that lists Republican Thad Cochran, Democrat Travis Childers and the Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara as nominees for U.S. Senate. Approval of the ballot came, as expected, while Chris McDaniel’s challenge of his Republican primary loss to Cochran is still awaiting trial. The judge overseeing McDaniel’s challenge said last week that he would not block preparations for the general election, including the setting of the ballot. State law says the ballot must be given to counties by Sept. 10, which is 55 days before the Nov. 4 general election. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said Mississippi must make absentee ballots available to overseas military voters starting Sept. 20. “Unless we’re ordered to the contrary, we’re going to follow the process,” Hosemann said after Tuesday’s meeting.
Certified results show Cochran, a six-term incumbent, defeated the tea party-backed state senator by 7,667 votes in the June 24 Republican primary runoff. McDaniel says the runoff was shoddily run and is asking the judge to declare him the winner over Cochran or order a new runoff.
Judge Hollis McGehee has set a Sept. 16 starting date for the trial, and has said it must be finished by Oct. 6. McGehee is scheduled to hear pretrial arguments Thursday in Jones County.