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Razor-close Senate runoff gets challenged

Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss, (left) and Chris McDaniel (right)

Tea-party challenger Chris McDaniel, citing the discovery of “thousands of irregularities” in the June GOP U.S. Senate primary runoff election in Mississippi, has confirmed he is challenging the narrow margin of victory for incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.

“The runoff election was a sham, plain and simple. Across the state, Democrats voted in the Republican primary to make sure that Thad Cochran could return to Washington to keep pushing for reckless spending,” the McDaniel campaign said in an email to constituents and others.

“We’ve already found thousands of irregularities in the voting process. According to Mississippi state law, Democrats who voted in the Democratic primary cannot vote in the Republican runoff, and that is exactly what happened,” the campaign said.

The statement continued, “But that’s not all. RedState published an interview that ‘alleges that the Cochran campaign conspired with a Mississippi reverend to buy the votes of African American voters, who happen to be Democrats. This appears to be corruption at its worst. Political operatives have intentionally subverted the integrity of our election process, and we absolutely must fight back.”

In fact, WND reported when the Western Journalism Center reported, “Angered by the fact that Thad Cochran’s camp stiffed him after he helped them commit a massive voter fraud in the GOP primary, a black Mississippi minister, the Rev. Stevie Fielder of the First Union Missionary Baptist Church, has come forward to admit his part in the crimes – and he is naming names.

“Fielder says that, acting in concert with Saleem Baird of the Cochran camp, he agreed to pay $15 each to black Democrats who crossed over to vote for Cochran in last month’s runoff against Chris McDaniel. Fielder was to receive $16,000 in return.”

The report said, “The conduct admitted to by Rev. Fielder constitutes violations of both federal and Mississippi state voting laws and could put all of the conspirators in prison. What makes this charge so believable is that just three years ago, the head of the Mississippi NAACP was sent to prison for voter fraud.”

McDaniel’s statement said he would like to replicate the Virginia House race upset by Dave Brat of longtime Washington insider Rep. Eric Cantor.

His fundraising notice said, “We have a long fight ahead. I know exactly how long and frustrating court battles can be, but I believe that this will be worth it. There is too much at stake to back down…”

WND reported just a week ago on plans by True the Vote, the citizens initiative pursuing “free and fair elections for all Americans,” and 13 other plaintiffs to pursue a federal court lawsuit over the results of the June 24 runoff.

The lawsuit asks the court to grant immediate access to voting records to inspect for possible illegal voting. It asserts that “defendants failed to properly abide by federal election record maintenance and open records provisions codified in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).”

“Records made partially available to the plaintiffs indicated ‘double-voting’ from Democratic to Republican primaries – potentially diluting votes in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.”

The complaint explains that the National Voter Registration Act supersedes Mississippi law.

“All we are asking is that the Mississippi State Republican Party follow the law; allow their designated county representatives to inspect the poll books and ballots, give them the review time they are permitted by law, and allow them to uphold their responsibility to Mississippi voters. … True the Vote has been inundated with reports from voters across Mississippi who are outraged to see the integrity of this election being undermined so that politicos can get back to business as usual. Enough is enough,” said True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht.

McDaniel won the June 3 state GOP primary with a margin too small (about 1,500 votes) to avoid a runoff. Cochran won the runoff with 7,000 votes, allegedly by convincing thousands of black Democrats to cross over and vote for him.

One campaign flyer in particular claimed McDaniel intended to prevent blacks from voting. A radio announcement implied that McDaniel was going to defund welfare and urged blacks to vote for Cochran: “By not voting, you’re saying, ‘Take away all of my government programs, such as food stamps, early breakfast and lunch programs, millions of dollars to our black universities.'”

McDaniel alleges that Democrats made thousands of illegal crossover votes, having already voted in the Democratic primary. Two days after the runoff, he reported having found over 1,000 votes in Hinds County alone – the state capital seat – in which voters allegedly voted in the Democrat primary, then crossed over to vote in the GOP runoff.

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, said there needs to be an investigation.

“What happened in Mississippi was appalling,” Cruz said on the Mark Levin Show. “Primaries are always rough and tumble. But the conduct of the Washington, D.C., machine in the Mississippi runoff was incredibly disappointing.”