Mississippi's disgruntled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel may want to be very careful about what seems to be his current hope of challenging the results of his GOP primary runoff last Tuesday, at least based on the "ineligible" voters he claims cast ballots across the state. If he's too effective in his challenge, he may actually end up seeing himself charged with voter fraud.
On June 3rd in the first primary round McDaniel barely bested Sen. Thad Cochran, but neither candidate received enough votes to avoid a runoff on June 24th, which Cochran is said to have won by just under 7,000 votes. The "Tea Party" candidate McDaniel, however, has yet to concede this week's runoff.
While McDaniel was believed to have been the favorite going into Tuesday's rematch, Cochran stepped up his campaign during the three weeks between the two elections. He even reached out to Democratic voters in the state, making the case that he, unlike McDaniel, was able to continue bringing in federal funding to the state for all manner of important infrastructure spending, from disaster relief to education aid to fighting against reductions in the food stamp program for the state's impoverished population.
At the same time, McDaniel, quite literally, vowed that he was "not going to do anything" for Mississippi voters, having finally taken the long trip to the ultimate dead-end of the "Tea Party" movement. "I'm going to get the government off your back, then I'm gonna let you do it for yourself," he explained in a Politico interview, which was happily exploited by the Cochran camp.
Then came the Tuesday race. And, surprise, the voters of Mississippi seemed to prefer Cochran's message to McDaniel's, according to the results reported by the *computerized vote tabulators in the state's 82 counties.
But McDaniel and his supporters aren't accepting the verdict reportedly delivered by the voters. On Election Night, McDaniel announced that there had been "literally dozens of irregularities reported all across this state," although he offered few specifics other than to blame his loss on "liberal Democrats." He added that "it's our job to make sure that the sanctity of the vote is upheld. Before this race ends, we have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters."
It seems the "irregularities" he was referring to are his belief that Democratic voters had illegally voted in the June 24th open primary runoff.
Unfortunately for McDaniel, however, even if he is able to make the legal argument that that was true, and that enough ballots were cast by ineligible voters to affect the reported results of the election, he might well also have to end up admitting that he, himself, committed "voter fraud" when voting for himself last Tuesday night...