Instead of meeting with Chris McDaniel, reporters spoke with his lawyer Mitch Tyner, who said the campaign wants to "weed out all the ineligible voters" that "diluted" people's votes. Tyner ran for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2003. On his campaign page is a picture of him with Sen. Thad Cochran.
The page obviously hasn't been updated in a while, but it might have been a good idea to update it with a slightly less awkward picture. As Sam R. Hall at The Clarion Ledger put it, "nevertheless, it's the kind of embarrassing misstep you really hate to make when you've just stood in front of the Hinds County courthouse and stepped into the biggest election circus in the country." Ben Jacobs at The Daily Beast noted that McDaniel couldn't have voted for Tyner that year anyway, because he voted in the Democratic primary.
Eleven years later, Tyner is arguing that, although Cochran won the run off by 6,700 votes, the McDaniel campaign doesn't need that many for a new election. “We don’t have to have 6,700," he said. "However, I would be surprised if we don’t." He added that, if they do find that many votes, "it's automatically a new election." Despite reports that the McDaniel campaign has found over 6,900 ineligible votes, Tyner could only confirm that they've found "several thousand absolute ineligible voters." The state GOP has to deliver certified election results by this afternoon, and then both candidates will have 12 days to launch a challenge, first with the party, then with the circuit court.
If the McDaniel campaign did get a new election it would be one more step in his never ending campaign to replace Cochran. After losing the June 24 run off election, McDaniel argued that the race had been decided by "liberal Democrats." Within days the campaign began checking for voter fraud, and one blogger (according to his paid source) said Cochran had launched a votes-for-cash scheme.
During the brief press conference Tyner confirmed that the campaign served notice to Sen. Thad Cochran's campaign that it would be viewing the ballot boxes. Monday morning, McDaniel campaign members went to every county courthouse in the state to view the ballot boxes, he said, adding that the campaign is looking for "how many ineligible voters voted in the runoff election." The campaign will determine what the results of their search are later on tonight. Tyner also said they would investigate absentee ballots, which he said was "very ripe for fraud."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.