On Thursday, Mississippi state Senator Chris McDaniel said he will not concede to incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), because his campaign has already found more than 1,000 voters who illegally voted in Tuesday’s GOP runoff, which Cochran won by over 6,000 votes.
Appearing on Fox News’ Hannity, McDaniel said numerous Democrats voted in the runoff after having voted in the Democratic Senate primary three weeks ago, which is a violation of state law. McDaniel, who has declared that he won around 25,000 more GOP votes than Cochran, said that Cochran only won the runoff after convincing 35,000 to 40,000 Democrats to vote for him, many of whom did so illegally.
“We are looking into the issue into whether people who participated in the June 3rd Democratic primary crossed over into the Republican primary this Tuesday night, and we’ve already found more than 1,000 examples of that in one county alone,” McDaniel said. “So we’re talking about widespread irregularities of ineligible voters; they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. They were pushed there.”
McDaniel said the Cochran campaign “pushed” Democrats to vote for Cochran by race-baiting and using lies and distortion in an “extraordinarily unusual” GOP campaign that ended up being about food stamps, voter suppression, and pork. He said he would have to pray and talk to his family about whether to ultimately support Cochran. Mississippi does not have a recount trigger, so McDaniel’s only potential recourse would be through the courts.
Analysts noted after the race that Cochran, who aggressively courted black Democrats and union voters in the runoff, could not have won election without black voters. Harry Enten at the FiveThirtyEight concluded that it was “clear that Cochran’s vote increases were correlated to the percentage of African-Americans who live in each county” and observed that “the 10 counties where the incumbent senator improved most were those where blacks make up 69 percent or more of the population.”
For instance, he noted that in “Hinds County, where African-Americans make up 69 percent of the population,” Cochran “increased his vote total there by about 7,000 votes from the first round of the primary and his share of the vote by a little over 6 percentage points to 72 percent on Tuesday.” In that county, Mississippi Tea Party chairwoman Laura Van Overschelde told the Associated Press that there may be at least 800 illegal ballots that have been found.
Had the African-American turnout been constant from the primary, Cochran, according to Enten, would have lost decisively.
“Instead of Cochran winning the runoff by 2 points, or about 6,000 votes, he loses by a little less than 8 points, or about 25,000 votes,” he analyzed. “He drops about 40,000 votes from his 190,000 vote total, while McDaniel loses only about 15,000 from his 185,000 vote total.”
A Wall Street Journal analysis concluded that Cochran’s margin of victory in counties where the black share of voters was above the statewide average was 14,300 in the primary but 25,224 in the runoff.
Other data analysts noted similar increases in predominantly black counties, with Hinds County being the clear outlier:
Turnout increased by 92 percent in Jefferson County, the county where black vtrs represent the largest share of eligible vtrs in the country
– Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) June 25, 2014
Big Cochran Gain in Hinds, big McDaniel gain in DeSoto, but note Cochran gains in Madison, Rankin, Forrest etc pic.twitter.com/ZOQENbgTGU
– Charles Franklin (@PollsAndVotes) June 25, 2014