Judge dismisses McDaniel challenge on a technicality

A Mississippi judge has dismissed state senator Chris McDaniel's challenge to Senator Thad Cochran's runoff win in the GOP primary last June.

CIting a state supreme court ruling from 1959, the judge said that, because McDaniel had failed to file his suit within 20 days of the election, his challenge was illegal.

The Hill:

A Mississippi judge has dismissed state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) legal challenge seeking to overturn Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) June primary win. 

Judge Hollis McGehee said McDaniel failed to start his election challenge after his June 24 GOP runoff loss on time, according to The Associated Press. 

Cochran’s legal team successfully argued that McDaniel’s challenge should have started within 20 days of the election, citing a 1959 state Supreme Court ruling. 

But McDaniel waited more than a month to challenge Cochran’s win, citing alleged voting irregularities in the runoff election and improper votes from Democrats who had already voted in their party's primary. The McDaniel campaign planned to prove the charges at a trial next month. 

Attorneys for the campaign said they would announce next week whether they would appeal the judge’s decision to the state Supreme Court. 

The Tea Party-backed McDaniel had been conservatives’ best shot to oust an incumbent senator this cycle, but he fell short by 7,667 votes in the runoff despite coming in first in the primary three weeks earlier.

Even if you're a Cochran supporter, it should trouble you that the Democrats probably decided who the GOP would run in the fall. You should be equally concerned that there were probably several thousand illegal votes - although local reports indicate there were not enough to overturn the result.

Nevertheless, McDaniels probably isn't finished in statewide politics, despite the charge by some Cochran supporters that he's a sore loser. His next run he will have the advantage of statewide name recognition and a nationwide fundraising base. He could very well become a formidable force in state politics for years to come.

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