Chris McDaniel’s first hurdle in his lawsuit to overturn his loss to Thad Cochran is a doozy: He may have waited too late to file it. As he worked for weeks building a case and campaigning that the election was stolen from him, McDaniel’s team said a 20-day deadline applies only to challenges of county and local elections, not a statewide U.S. Senate primary. Others, including the secretary of state, agreed with him. “Justice has no timetable,” McDaniel said numerous times when questioned why it was taking so long to file his challenge of the June 24 GOP runoff for U.S. Senate. But a 1959 state Supreme Court ruling appears also to apply the 20-day deadline to “state, congressional and judicial district” primaries. Citing this ruling, Cochran’s legal team has filed a motion to dismiss McDaniel’s lawsuit. McDaniel has until Tuesday to file a response, and a hearing on the motion is set for Thursday.
The section of state law on county election challenges says the first step, filing a case with the party’s executive committee, must be done within 20 days of the election. A following section on statewide and district challenges does not contain the deadline language.
But the high court in its 1959 ruling on a Democratic district attorney primary said the code sections were part of a single act passed by the Legislature. It ruled that it would “be senseless” to assume that deadline, aimed to keep general elections on track, would not apply to races for all other offices.
Full Article: Did McDaniel wait too late to file?.