A furious Chris McDaniel refused to concede the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran on Tuesday night, casting a pall of illegitimacy on Cochran’s win in a heated runoff battle.
In an approximately nine-minute long speech after multiple news outlets had handed victory to Cochran, McDaniel accused his intra-party opponents of “abandoning the conservative movement” to win — without ever mentioning Cochran by name.
“There’s something strange about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats,” McDaniel said, after he was introduced by a supporter as “the Republican nominee” for Senate.
“It’s our job to make sure the sanctity of the vote is upheld.”
The possible next steps for the McDaniel campaign are unclear, but spokesman for McDaniel said to “stay tuned.”
McDaniel said in his speech there were “dozens of irregularities” reported at polls.
“You’ve heard the stories,” he said, when supporters began shouting, “Tell us!”
The final three weeks of the nasty campaign the race featured a back-and-forth, racially charged battle over the state’s voting laws.
Cochran had sought to save his Senate seat by expanding the electorate, particularly by turning out non-traditional GOP primary voters including black Democrats. Mailers supporting Cochran accused the Tea Party of trying to suppress the black vote on Tuesday by, among other things, sending so-called poll watchers to election spots.
“Before this race ends, we have to be certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” McDaniel said.