Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Mississippi GOP chairman tells Chris McDaniel: No, I won't just make you the winner of the Senate primary

The Mississippi Republican Party announced Wednesday night that it will not hear Tea Party–aligned Senate candidate Chris McDaniel's effort to overturn the narrow victory of Sen. Thad Cochran in the June 24 Republican primary runoff. The Clarion-Ledger reports that state GOP chairman Joe Nosef is telling McDaniel's campaign that they would have to pursue a different remedy: Going to court.

McDaniel on Monday officially sent the state Republican Party executive committee his formal election challenge, in which he asked them to officially declare him the winner by about 25,000 votes, throwing out the 7,000-vote win by incumbent Cochran. Among other things, McDaniel has charged that Cochran's campaign strategy — reaching out to the (usually Democratic) African-American community to cross over into the Republican primary — had fraudulently overturned the will of genuine Republican voters.

As Nosef explained in his response letter to McDaniel's attorney, state law would require a legal contest to be filed within 10 days of the party challenge — a deadline of August 14; but the state GOP's own bylaws require a notice of seven days before an executive meeting — which would mean that even if he had called a meeting today, it couldn't be held until August 13.

"Obviously, it is not possible for our committee of 52 volunteers to attempt to engage in such an exercise in a prudent manner in one day," wrote Nosef, with both the underline and bolding in the original. "In fact, given the extraordinary relief requested of overturning a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes, the only way to ensure the integrity of the election process and provide a prudent review of this matter is in a court of law. The public judicial process will protect the rights of the voters as well as both candidates, and a proper decision will be made on behalf of our party and our state."