Speed Reads

2014 Watch

Tea Party groups sending poll watchers to monitor Mississippi GOP primary runoff

Seeking to combat Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) pleas for Democrats to back him in Tuesday's GOP primary runoff, a collection of Tea Party groups are bringing in poll watchers to supposedly ensure no voters break the law.

The Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and Tea Party Patriots will send "trained" observers to polling places in areas where Cochran has been recruiting Democrats, according to The New York Times. Cochran finished second in the initial primary voting to state Sen. Chris McDaniel, and has since enlisted black pastors to help him get out the Democratic vote.

The groups behind the monitoring claim that a little-known law makes it illegal for people to vote in the GOP primary if they don't intend to support the party in November. The legal case for that reading is flimsy. And given Mississippi's troubling history of racial discrimination, and the fact that Cochran's campaign specifically reached out to black voters, the effort has drawn comparisons to past race-based attempts at voter intimidation.