Chris McDaniel takes primary fight with Thad Cochran to Mississippi high court

Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel's lawyers filed an appeal Friday.

Story highlights

  • Lawyers for state Sen. Chris McDaniel file appeal with the Mississippi Supreme Court
  • Judge ruled McDaniel waited too long to file a challenge to the GOP's June 24 primary runoff
  • Sen. Thad Cochran narrowly won the GOP runoff
  • McDaniel's campaign argues Cochran benefited from widespread election fraud
Lawyers for State Sen. Chris McDaniel filed an appeal Friday with the Mississippi Supreme Court to overturn last week's judicial decision rejecting McDaniel's challenge to the state's June 24 GOP primary runoff, which was won by incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran.
Judge Hollis McGehee ruled on August 29 that McDaniel waited too long to file his challenge with the state Republican Party.
McDaniel filed the challenge 41 days after the election; McGehee said that under state law the challenge had to be filed within 20 days.
McDaniel, who received strong support from tea party and anti-establishment groups, narrowly defeated Cochran in Mississippi's June 3 Republican primary. Neither candidate, however, cracked the 50% threshold needed to win, forcing a runoff three weeks later that Cochran won by slightly over 7,000 votes.
Cochran's victory was apparently aided by crossover votes from African-Americans, a largely Democratic bloc actively courted by Cochran's campaign and allied groups.
McDaniel's campaign said there was evidence of election fraud. McDaniel's supporters argued, among other things, that African-American Democrats improperly voted in the Republican runoff after participating in the Democratic primary.
Cochran's campaign attributed the unusually high levels of support from African-Americans to four decades of the senator's relationship-building in the state.
Cochran is the overwhelming favorite to win the November election. It would be his seventh term in the U.S. Senate.