A Mississippi judge dismissed a lawsuit Friday that seeks to overturn six-term Sen. Thad Cochran’s victory in a Republican primary runoff.
Judge Hollis McGehee said state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who lost to Cochran in the June 24 runoff, failed to start the election challenge on time.
McDaniel will announce next week whether he will appeal McGehee’s ruling to the Mississippi Supreme Court, his attorneys said.
McGehee announced his ruling Friday in Gulfport, one day after hearing arguments in Laurel about the timing of McDaniel’s lawsuit.
The judge agreed with Cochran attorneys, who cited a 1959 Mississippi Supreme Court ruling that said an election challenge must begin within 20 days of the election. McDaniel waited more than a month.
McDaniel’s lawsuit claims irregularities spoiled the June 24 runoff. It asked the judge to declare McDaniel the winner or order a new runoff.
McDaniel attorney Steve Thornton argued Thursday that Mississippi election laws have been rewritten since 1959, but Cochran attorney Phil Abernethy countered that the changes were not significant and that the Supreme Court precedent should still guide the judge in the current case.
Results of the runoff were certified July 7, and McDaniel started his challenge Aug. 4 with the state Republican Party. After the GOP executive committee said it didn’t have time to properly consider the challenge, McDaniel filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 in his home of Jones County. The state Supreme Court appointed McGehee, a retired judge from another county, to handle the case.
Certified results show Cochran defeated McDaniel by 7,667 votes.
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