Last month, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel (R) lost a close runoff to four-decade long incumbent Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). In the state’s primary in early June, McDaniel won the popular vote but failed to reach the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff. The GOP subsequently dumped millions into Cochran’s coffers and mobilized a get out to vote campaign that was reported to include registered Democrats, in an effort to put the 76-year-old over the top.
In the immediate aftermath of the runoff, McDaniel’s campaign questioned the legality of the tactics used by Cochran and refused to concede. On radio this morning, McDaniel explained what comes next in his fight for transparency and fairness in the election process and clarified his recent comments about “purging” the Republican Party.
To begin, Glenn asked McDaniel about the status of the investigation into the June 24 election results.
“We still are in a position of challenging. Right now, presently, we are seeking information still from all of our courthouses. We have 82 counties in the state and still, today, there are 22 of those counties that really have not cooperated with us at all,” McDaniel said. “We have a petition already filed with the Supreme Court right now. What we are seeking, un-redacted versions of the poll books that we realized on the [June] 24, that’s where much of the problem is.”
Mississippi election rules employ an open primary system that allows registered Democrats who have not participated in their own party’s primary to participate in the Republican primary. But McDaniel’s camp believes Democratic voters in Mississippi participated in both the June 3 Democratic Primary and the June 24 Republican runoff.
“In our state, if you are a Democrat, for example, you cannot participate in the June 3 Democratic primary then cross over into the June 24 Republican runoff, which is what thousand of Mississippians did,” McDaniel said. “It makes them ineligible. We have multiple allegations of criminal conduct on the part of the Cochran campaign. 13,000 or 14,000 [voters] – it’s not clear yet because we haven’t gotten to all the courthouses about irregularities across the board.”
Last week, McDaniel made headlines for comments he made about the state of the Republican Party. In relation to thotion the Cochran campaign reached out to Democratic voters to secure the victory, McDaniel said the GOP should be “purged” of those who paint fellow Republicans as racists.
“They hired Democratic operatives to go out into Democratic communities and call me a racist,” McDaniel said. “That’s despicable… It goes to show that there are elements within our own party that have to be purged… There are elements within our own party that have no business being Republicans. Republicans should not behave in that fashion.”
Calling the comment “kind of scary,” Glenn asked McDaniel to further clarify what he meant by the remark.
“Well, it’s very clear. We cannot be a party of divisiveness. We should not be a party of racism. We should not be a party who uses race with inflammatory tactics. Those are the men and women I was talking about,” McDaniel said. “Those people do not belong in a party of Reagan. They don’t. It is not the party we fought for, not the party we fought for conservatism with. And I think there’s not much room for racism in the party.”
McDaniel went on to say he considers himself a “conservative first,” and it is important to realign the Republican Party with conservative values and principles.
“I appreciate your willingness to continue to fight. I honestly appreciate your willingness to come out and say, ‘Hey, I served this machine for quite some time, and this machine is dirty, and we have to fix it,’” Glenn concluded. “And I thank you for being who you are… [Y]ou don’t sound angry at all, Chris, and you have every reason to be angry. I appreciate that.”
You can learn more about McDaniel’s fight HERE.