ELLISVILLE — Lawyers for tea party candidate Chris McDaniel said yesterday that they intend, in the next 10 days, to file a challenge of McDaniel’s loss to six-term Sen. Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican primary.
Attorneys and advisers to McDaniel said they need more time to examine ballot boxes and poll books. They said they are seeking voting irregularities in the June 24 runoff. McDaniel did not appear at the event at attorney Mitch Tyner’s office in Jackson, and it was not immediately clear where he was.
Certified results show Cochran won the June 24 runoff by 7,667 votes, or 51 percent.
Mississippi voters don’t register by party, but it is a misdemeanor, under state law, to vote in one party’s primary and another party’s runoff in the same cycle.
McDaniel would have to prove there were enough illegally cast votes to change the outcome or that the election was so sloppily handled its result is in doubt.
Although the McDaniel campaign says it has found thousands of irregularities, including potential crossover votes, Tyner said the campaign still will not release any documents to back up its claims. He said documentation would be released upon the filing of a challenge.
“We’re going to be mature about this,” Tyner said at a news conference attended by about 50 McDaniel supporters.
Tyner and Republican state Sen. Michael Watson of Pascagoula are two of the three attorneys working on behalf of McDaniel to seek access to poll books that include voters’ birthdates, which they say they need to fully identify people.
Attorney General Jim Hood issued a nonbinding legal opinion yesterday that voters’ birthdates should be redacted, for privacy. He said each voter has a unique voter identification number that can be used to differentiate between people with similar names.
McDaniel would file a challenge with the Mississippi GOP executive committee, according to his lawyers. After about 10 days, they said, he would file a state court lawsuit seeking a new election.