Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’s attorneys say a lawsuit that seeks to overturn his Republican primary victory should be dismissed because it was filed too late. They also argue Cochran should not have been sued because he didn’t conduct the election. Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 24 runoff, and the state GOP certified the results July 7. In court papers filed Thursday, Cochran’s attorneys cited a 1959 Mississippi Supreme Court decision that a challenge to a statewide election must be filed within 20 days of when results are certified. They said that means McDaniel had a July 27 deadline. McDaniel filed suit Aug. 14 in his home of Jones County, asking a judge to either declare him the winner of the June 24 runoff or order a new election.
Retired Chancellor Hollis McGehee, who was appointed by the state Supreme Court to oversee the case, has set a Sept. 15 trial date but will hear arguments Aug. 28 on pretrial motions, including Cochran’s request to dismiss the case.
McDaniel has a substantial burden in court: He must prove there were enough illegal votes to change the outcome or that the runoff was so shoddily conducted that it should be done over.