McDaniel says more than a thousand irregularities found in ballots from one county

Chris McDaniel hasn't given up the fight to wrest the nomination away from incumbent Thad Cochran in Mississippi. McDaniel told Sean Hannity that his people had uncovered "more than a thousand" irregularities in ballots cast last Tuesday by Democrats and that the GOP should open an investigation into the matter.


“We’ve found more than a thousand examples of that in one county alone widespread irregularities,” McDaniel said to Hannity on Thursday night.

Cochran defeated McDaniel in a tight runoff election on Tuesday, 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent, according to The Associated Press. McDaniel slammed Cochran’s hypocrisy for reaching out to Democrats to help him win.

“They say they’re going to fight the liberals in Washington, but they embraced the liberals in Mississippi just to win the election,” McDaniel said. “It’s the worst style of politicking I can imagine.”

As a result, McDaniel’s not sure whether he’ll support Cochran going forward. He said he’ll need to pray and talk to his family before making a final decision.

“I didn’t think it was worth the character assassination of a friend,” he said.

But even McDaniel allies aren't convinced he can find enough tainted ballots to overcome Cochran's lead.

The president of the Mississippi Tea Party told a local news outlet that the campaign and supporters only found about 800 irregular votes.

One county Republican chairman told The Hill Wednesday it’s likely McDaniel’s search will turn up some irregularities — but not enough to narrow that margin.

Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry said, while his poll watchers made their best effort and did turn droves of ineligible voters away from the polls, he expected some slipped through the cracks.

“Did it happen? I’m sure it happened,” he said.

“Did it happen to any degree of enough numbers to raise any questions [about the outcome of the runoff]? Absolutely not. If they want to go look and see and spend the time and effort to find it out, I’m sure they’ll find it out for themselves.”

Cochran aggressively courted Democrats, particularly black voters, in the run-up to the election. There's nothing wrong with a Democrat voting in the GOP runoff, but voting in both the Democratic primary and the GOP runoff is barred by Mississippi law.

McDaniel also accused Cochran of running “the latter three weeks on food stamps.”

“[Voters] were pushed there by an overt action, an aggressive action on the part of Sen. Cochran’s campaign that was filled with race-baiting, lies, distortions,” he said. 

“He literally ran the latter three weeks on food stamps. He ran on voter suppression and he ran on pork. Mississippi is a conservative state, and one would think that our party was a conservative party. This proves otherwise.”

The McDaniel campaign has put particular emphasis on counties with large black populations, such as Hinds County, where turnout increased by about 50 percent from the primary to the runoff, and Cochran expanded his portion of the vote from 66 percent to 72 percent.  

Perry stood by the vote in his county, however, and said it “bothered” him for McDaniel to suggest he and his volunteers hadn’t conducted a good election.

Apparently, the poll workers turned away a significant number of Democrats. But it was too easy for a lot of people to slip through and vote illegally.

More than 7,000? The pros are saying no, it's extremely unlikely. But what does McDaniel have to lose? He's making legitimate inquiries about the integrity of the vote and should be given all the cooperation necessary. Better yet, an independent review would settle the matter fairly.

I suspect McDaniel will concede in the next week or so. Whether be swallows his bitterness and backs Cochran remains to be seen.