Cruz: Investigate Mississippi primary runoff

Texas Senator Ted Cruz has lent a powerful voice to the effort to investigate events surrounding the Senate primary in Mississippi where incumbent Thad Cochran narrowly defeated state senator Chris McDaniel.

Questions persist about the legality of thousands of votes cast by Democrats for Cochran in the Republican primary and Cruz, who calls the run off "appalling," thinks that accusations of voter fraud should be looked into.


Sen. Ted Cruz is calling for an official investigation into the Republican Senate primary runoff in Mississippi between Sen. Thad Cochran and the challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

The Texas Republican on Monday evening called the runoff contest “appalling” and said that allegations of voter fraud need to be investigated.

“We’ve seen serious allegations of voter fraud,” Cruz said on “The Mark Levin Show.” “And I very much hope that no Republican was involved in voter fraud. But these allegations need to be vigorously investigated and anyone involved in criminal conduct should be prosecuted.”

Earlier in the program, Cruz criticized the Washington establishment for its meddling in the runoff: “What happened in Mississippi was appalling. Primaries are always rough and tumble, but the conduct of the Washington, D.C., machine in the Mississippi runoff was incredibly disappointing.”

The Mississippi Republican Party on Monday evening officially certified the incumbent Cochran as the winner of the June 24 runoff election by more than 7,667 votes. McDaniel, a tea party favorite who has attacked Cochran from the right in the contentious primary battle, vowed to challenge the results.

The McDaniel campaign, which has accused Cochran’s campaign of voter fraud and potential criminal activity, has offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who finds evidence of voter fraud in the race. McDaniel has also criticized Cochran for targeting Democrats and African-Americans to vote in the runoff despite their intention not to vote for the Republican nominee in November.

McDaniel's problem is that he doesn't have any control over the election machinery in Mississippi. All that he and Cruz can do is put public pressure on the state GOP to investigate the runoff. Beyond that, it is doubtful that a judge would order an investigation if McDaneil sued, given the historic reluctance of federal judges to involve the courts  in these kinds of intra-party wars.

Still, if the fraud can be proved to a judge's satisfaction, there's a chance that the investigation will go forward. But that's a tall order given the lack of cooperation by Cochran officials in allowing a close examination of voter rolls and tally sheets.

Ther's a legitimate question of how badly this has hurt Cochran and has it made him vulnerable in November. A deadly combination of Tea Party anger and voter disgust might hand the seat to the Democrats anyway.