MS GOP Chair: Only Those 'Who Plan to Support' GOP Nominee in November Should Vote in Runoff

MS GOP Chair: Only Those 'Who Plan to Support' GOP Nominee in November Should Vote in Runoff

JACKSON, Mississippi — Mississippi Republican Party chairman Joe Nosef has stepped forward to call for only those who plan to vote for the Republican candidate in the general election to vote in Mississippi’s GOP primary runoff between six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel next Tuesday.

Nosef also denounced anyone who may have paid Democrats to vote for Cochran, as state Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole alleged on Tuesday.

“The law prohibits anyone from buying or selling a vote, as it should,” Nosef told Breitbart News. “We want a clean, hard-fought primary decided by voters who plan to support the Republican Party and our candidates in November. I personally have been and continue to be in touch with legal counsel as well as representatives from both campaigns in order to ensure that our runoff is accurate and legal.”

Nosef’s remarks are significant given his political history with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is strongly backing Cochran. Sources close to Nosef tell Breitbart News he feels it’s the right thing to do to keep what’s become the bloodiest battlefield between the GOP establishment and Tea Party in 2014 under control.

Nosef’s call could undercut efforts by Cochran’s allies to push Democrats to vote for the senior senator in the runoff. Technically, according to ex-Department of Justice attorney J. Christian Adams, it’s illegal for Democrats to vote in the GOP runoff or primary if they don’t intend to support that nominee in November’s general election.

On Tuesday, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported that Democrat activist James “Scooby Doo” Warren has publicly claimed he’s working on behalf of Cochran. Warren said in his interview with the Clarion-Ledger that he will be supporting the Democrat nominee Travis Childers in November over whoever is the GOP nominee he’s working on behalf of now.

“I called D.C. and told them what was going on with the tea party,” Warren said. “But I can’t do anything after the 24th because I’m a Democrat… Whoever wins will have to deal with me in November.”

That report came as a Facebook message that Rickey Cole, the chairman of the state Democratic Party, sent to a key McDaniel campaign adviser became public. In the Facebook message, Cole warned that he’s heard Cochran’s ally Pete Perry–the chairman of the Hinds County GOP executive committee in Jackson and the head of Paradigm Government Relations–was paying black activists cash for votes.

“Large sums of cash are being passed around. These guys are old school ‘walking around money’ vote buyers,” Cole wrote in the message, obtained by Breitbart News.

Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that Cochran’s Super PAC Mississippi Conservatives paid Perry’s outfit Paradigm $60,000 over two separate payments in late May. Cole wrote in his Facebook message–a comment he confirmed in an interview with Breitbart News–that that money left Perry’s hands then eventually made it to Warren, who used it as cash to pay street organizers and preachers in the black community to get out the vote for Cochran.

In an interview Sunday with Breitbart News, Perry said he hoped that money routed through a company he controls wasn’t being used for “walking around money.” However, other than saying he didn’t pay Warren directly, Perry wouldn’t say where the money had gone.

“None of your business,” he told Breitbart News when asked for details on his payment process, adding that explaining how it was used would help McDaniel’s campaign. 

Catherine Engelbrecht of election integrity group True The Vote, whose organization is in Mississippi right now and has pressured Nosef among others to take the action he is now taking to protect GOP voters from Cochran’s efforts to get Democrats to vote for him, has called for Perry to be removed as the top official running the GOP runoff in Hinds County.

“You can take her opinion and do with it what you want–that has nothing to do with the price of eggs,” Perry retorted back at Engelbrecht in his interview with Breitbart News this weekend.