State Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) campaign says it has served papers to Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) son, Clayton, giving notice of the intent to challenge the results of the runoff, based on allegations of improper voting. The campaign claims to have found nearly 5,000 examples of improper voting, but hasn’t released documents supporting the claim.
“The election challenge will be filed with the state Republican Party executive committee, as required by law. If the committee rejects a request for a new election, McDaniel could file an appeal with a state circuit court in a county where the campaign believes it has found voting irregularities, said state Sen. Michael Watson, an attorney who is working with the McDaniel campaign.”
Cochran’s campaign says its attorneys are discussing the challenge. (AP)
REWARD: McDaniel issued a challenge to supporters who could “provide evidence leading to the arrest and conviction” of anyone involved in voter fraud during the runoff. His campaign sent an email requesting donations so that it could give fifteen $1,000 rewards to participants. (release)
CASHING OUT: The Jackson Clarion-Ledger’s Sam Hall speculates on whether McDaniel is raising money for a challenge, or to pay off a personal loan to his campaign.
“While McDaniel and his campaign repeatedly have said they owe no debt, his campaign finance reports show something different. Furthermore, even though he has been making fundraising requests for specific projects, those contributions can be used for any legal campaign expenditure — including debt payments.”
“After the primary runoff, McDaniel had $5,200 raised toward the general election and the $100,100 loan. He reported $60,000 cash on hand. That leaves a deficit of $34,900 for McDaniel. Of course, that deficit could be wiped away if McDaniel forgives the loan he made to his campaign… Nevertheless, forgiving the loan would leave McDaniel with just less than $55,000 to put toward the legal challenge. As legal challenges go, that’s not a lot. There’s also the cost of paying staff through all this time. In short, that money isn’t going to last long.”
“Any money contributed toward [McDaniel’s] Election Challenge Fund, can be used for any other legal campaign expenses. All McDaniel has to do is file a challenge and go through the process. That allows him to raise another round of $2,600 from maxed out donors and use the money however he sees fit — including paying political staff or repaying his own loan.” (Jackson Clarion-Ledger)
LINE IN THE SAND: McDaniel’s campaign manager Melanie Sojourner wrote on Facebook that she’ll never, ever endorse Cochran. “For me to ever endorse Cochran would be to say that I can accept or find it ok the tactics he used,” Sojourner writes. “That will simply never be the truth. Ever.” (BuzzFeed)
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