Charles Pierce at Esquire has been writing about the crazy politics of Mississippi under the recurring caption of “Mississippi, Goddamn” to express the appropriate level of opprobrium. But Mississippi today is not much different than the Mississippi depicted in the classic movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?: “Well, it’s a well-run campaign. Midget and broom and whatnot. Devil his due. Hell of an organization.”
You may have thought that the Mississippi GOP primary ended some six weeks ago with a narrow run-off victory by incumbent Senator Thad Cochran over his Tea Party and “Kochtopus” funded rival, Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel. McDaniel has been alleging that “I was robbed!” and refusing to concede the election to Cochran. McDaniel was bent out of shape over Black Democrats voting in Mississippi’s open primary GOP run-off for Senator Cochran. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” McDaniel alleges this is “voter fraud.”
Today, Chris McDaniel filed an election challenge, asserting that he is the legitimate nominee of the Republican Party. The Civil War in the Mississippi GOP between the Tea Party and the Haley Barbour GOP establishment is on! The Clarion-Ledger reports, McDaniel challenging GOP primary loss to Cochran:
Chris McDaniel on Monday filed his long-awaited challenge of the June 24 GOP primary for U.S. Senate, saying he’s found enough illegal and questionable votes that the state Republican Party should declare him the winner.
McDaniel’s challenge seeks to show a “pattern of conduct,” through a three-ring binder of allegations that includes press stories, people’s social media posts, polling of voters after the primary and lists and affidavits about questionable votes.
“Justice has no timetable,” McDaniel said to a crowd of media and supporters before his lawyers presented binders to media. “They asked me to put up or shut up. Here we are with the evidence.”
McDaniel, a state senator from Ellisville with tea party backing, is contesting his loss in the runoff by 7,667 votes to incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel claims he’ll show “a pattern of conduct” and more than 15,000 illegal, improper or questionable votes.
McDaniel filed his challenge with the state Republican Party on Monday, a first legal step. Assuming the party’s decision is challenged, or if it fails to make one, the case would next head to a circuit court, with the state Supreme Court appointing a special judge to hear the case.
In his complaint, McDaniel claims that shortly after the runoff “evidence came to light that not only was the Cochran campaign soliciting Democratic votes, but specific Cochran campaign personnel were named as participating in a criminal vote-buying scheme.”
The Cochran campaign has called allegations of vote buying or other fraud “baseless” and said numbers of questionable votes are small – around 1,000 — and within normal percentages of human error for an election.
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Mississippi has open primaries, and does not require party registration by voters. But there is a state law – which has been deemed unenforceable – that says someone should not vote in a primary unless they intend to support that party’s nominee in a general election. [The Mississippi law McDaniel is basing this on is was overturned by a federal judge in 2008, and is unenforceable.]
McDaniel’s complaint cites a poll of 433 Democrats who voted in the June 24 GOP primary that found 71 percent said they didn’t intend to support the Republican nominee in November. [Once again, the law in question is unenforceable.] The complaint also notes that “social media sites were active” after the runoff with Democrats saying they voted for Cochran in the primary but would not in the general.
McDaniel’s complaint says Cochran caused serious harm to the state primary process by “hustling Democrat voters into the Republican primary through race baiting scare tactics.”
McDaniel is entirely lacking self awareness in “race baiting scare tactics” — that’s what his election challenge is all about: Black Democrats voted in the “White People’s Party” primary!
Wasn’t it a McDaniel supporter caught in a scandal of taking photos of Cochran’s wife, who is bedridden with dementia, and he later committed suicide? Tea Party Leader Charged In Thad Cochran Photo Scandal. And wasn’t it a McDaniel campaign aid locked inside the county courthouse with the ballots on election night? McDaniel aide cleared after courthouse lock-in. “Mississippi, Goddamn.”
By the way, they do have secret ballots in Mississippi, don’t they? How the hell does anyone know how someone voted?
In any event, McDaniel is supposedly a BFD for Tea Party types in their civil war against the GOP establishment. Some pundits have speculated that the civil war in the Mississippi GOP could spark a civil war in the Republican Party across the nation and eventually lead to the dissolution of the GOP, with the various factions going their separate ways to start their own
political parties exclusive clubs — with loyalty oaths, and secret handshakes, and secret passwords, and everything! Awesome!