Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who is in the process of pursuing a legal challenge to his loss in the June 24 U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff, said Friday his campaign has found more “questionable votes” than the runoff’s margin of victory.
In a statement released by his campaign, McDaniel said an examination of voting rolls in Mississippi found 8,300 “questionable votes.” He didn’t release specific evidence or a county-by-county breakdown, as has the campaign of his challenger, U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. The statement did not make clear what McDaniel meant by “questionable votes.”
At the same time, McDaniel ripped into Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who he blamed for preventing members of his campaign from inspecting voting records in the “majority” of Mississippi counties.
“We have found over 8,300 questionable ballots cast, many of which were unquestionably cast by voters ineligible to participate in the June 24th runoff election,” McDaniel said in a statement.
“Sadly, however, our volunteers have been unable to gain complete access to unredacted poll books in approximately 58 counties, and also have not been granted access to absentee records in approximately 24 counties,” McDaniel added. “Unfortunately we have had to pursue further legal remedies in order to gain access to election records. In addition, even though we’ve been granted access to poll books in many counties, we have often not been allowed to view Democratic and Republican books at the same time, cross referencing next to impossible.”
So far, the McDaniel campaign has claimed it found found thousands of voter “irregularities,” as well as a number of illegal “crossover” votes from Democrats who shouldn’t have been allowed to vote in the June 24 Republican primary runoff. Mississippi election law, which mandates runoffs between the top two candidates if no candidate in a primary earns over 50% of the vote, bars people from voting in one party’s primary and then crossing over to vote in another party’s runoff. Though there are few procedures to enforce this, the law says only people who voted in the Republican primary or didn’t vote at all were eligible to vote in the June 24 runoff.
McDaniel said he would hold a press conference next Wednesday to discuss the “next steps forward” in the campaign’s legal challenge. A lawyer representing his campaign said Monday it hopes to force another election.
The Cochran campaign has said McDaniel’s team has yet to provide any hard evidence of illegitimate votes — and that its claims of large numbers of “voter irregularities” are largely exaggerated. Team Cochran has also examined the voter rolls, and has put out specific numbers of its examination in 61 of Mississippi’s 82 counties. On Wednesday, it released an analysis showing it had found less than 300 “questionable votes” in those 61 counties.
A source close to the Cochran campaign told Business Insider last week, as part of a lengthy diatribe, that McDaniel was mad the Cochran campaign “kicked his arse” and that he was the “sorest loser I’ve ever seen.”
“That’s just not true,” the source in the Cochran campaign told Business Insider of the supposed number of “irregularities.”
“Chris McDaniel is a trial lawyer, and he’s acting like one. He’s throwing out false flags and things that just aren’t true, and trying to get them into the news stream.”
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