Why would a Chris McDaniel campaign official hang out with a Mississippi Tea Party official in an empty courthouse with counted ballots on the night of the election? That's what the Hinds County Sheriff's Department is investigating.
McDaniel faced off against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in the Republican primary election on Tuesday, where neither won enough voted to avoid a runoff later this month. But after the results were announced, Janis Lane (president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party), Scott Brewster (McDaniel's coalition director), and another man were in the building from around 2 a.m. until 3:45 a.m. early Wednesday morning.
The sheriff's department spokesman, Othor Cain, told The Clarion-Ledger that the investigation is looking into how the three entered the building, which would be easier if their stories lined up. "There are conflicting stories from the three of them, which began to raise the red flag, and we're trying to get to the bottom of it," Cain said. "No official charges have been filed at this point, but we don't know where the investigation will lead us."
Brewster's involvement is interesting considering his connection to the Clayton Thomas Kelly fiasco, when the pro-McDaniel blogger illegally video tapped Cochran's wife in her nursing home. McDaniel and most of his campaign officials denied knowing anything about the video, but Brewster said he remembered when the video came out and "think(s) people made some calls" to have it removed.
But even without that connection the story is very weird. The county's Republican executive chairman, Pete Perry, told the Clarion-Ledger he had a "concern with someone being in the courthouse with all the election material down there." The ballots were secure but some of the precinct information was not.