40-year incumbent Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) pulled out an eleventh-hour victory over Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel (R) in Tuesday’s runoff election. Returns showed Cochran with a lead of about 3,800 votes – holding 50.5% of the vote to McDaniel’s 49.5% – with 98% of precincts reporting. Earlier this month, McDaniel actually won the popular vote against Cochran in the Republican primary, but he failed to reach the 50% threshold needed to avoid a runoff by just tenths of a percent.
On radio this morning, a fired up Glenn explained why he is “really, really pissed off” about the Mississippi results given the questionable tactics used by the Cochran campaign to secure victory.
“I'm just sick to my stomach,” Glenn said. “I thought I was living in the country where liberty had a chance, where fair play had a chance, where we weren't talking about a GOP – a Grand Old Party, emphasis on old, outdated, dusty, irrelevant, and never ever going to see a dime from people like me ever again. I really thought that we had a chance of some common sense. But no, no, no.”
Most polling leading up to Tuesday’s election showed McDaniel enjoying a lead within or slightly above the margin of error, and yet he came up short. So what happened? According to reports, the GOP set up a ground game to court black Democrats who did not participate in the state’s Democratic primary. By law, Democrats who did not cast a vote in the Democratic primary can vote in the Republican primary/runoff and vice versa.
Cochran relied heavily on boosting voter turnout in the runoff among not only mainstream Republicans but also black Democrats, whom his campaign and its allies aggressively courted in the final days of the campaign.
In nearly every Mississippi county, voter turnout was up over the inconclusive June 3 primary. But precinct totals show it was substantially higher in heavily African American areas. In the 24 counties with a majority black population, turnout increased by 39.4 percent, giving Cochran a big edge.
For example, in densely populated Hinds County, which includes the capital of Jackson, turnout was up nearly 50 percent over the June 3 primary and Cochran beat McDaniel by nearly 11,000 votes.
“Now, I have a question for every black Democrat in Mississippi. What the hell has this 90-year-old fart – a white Republican, the same white Republican that for years the Democrats had been telling you are nothing but old racists – you tell me exactly what Thad Cochran did for you,” Glenn asked exasperatedly. “What the GOP did is they reached out to the black Democrats and got the black Democrats to vote… So they're much more comfortable with having Democrats come out and vote than having their base come out and vote.”
As Stu explained, many several establishment Republicans gave both their endorsement and money to the Cochran campaign. Breitbart reports Cochran’s Mississppi colleague Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) along with Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Rob Portman (R-OH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Barrasso (R-WY), John Thune (R-SD), John Cornyn (R-TX), Bob Corker (R-TN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Dean Heller (R-NV), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) all lined up to support the entrenched politician.
“Absolutely unbelievable,” Glenn said. “[But] let's look at the good news. This means… King Obama has done it. Race relations are healed. Because when you can get an old white southern Republican lighting a fire under people – 40% increase in African-American voting – we have been healed. Everybody go to the ocean and look because the sea level is going to start going down at any moment.”
"Amazing thing: Not only has it been healed, it's been healed in the last few weeks because none of these people decided to vote for Thad Cochran initially,” Stu added. “They just all decided in the last few weeks how important he was for the state of Mississippi, [and] they had to turn out yesterday.”
Front page image courtesy of the AP