By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON — Chris McDaniel did not file this afternoon a court challenge to the June 24 U.S. Senate Republican primary runoff results where he lost to incumbent Thad Cochran.
McDaniel was expected to file the challenge Wednesday afternoon. Now sources are indicating it will be Thursday.
McDaniel did send out an e-mail Wednesday afternoon, saying a court challenge was the next step. In the e-mail, he asked for contributions to help with the chalenge.
It is not clear where McDaniel, a state senator from Ellisville, will file the challenge. Under state law, McDaniel has the option to file in the circuit court of any county where he believes irregularities occurred. After that, the state Supreme Court chief justice is supposed to appoint a special judge to hear the case.
Earlier this month, the state Republican Party opted not to hear McDaniel’s challenge, saying it should be decided by the courts.
McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite, lost to six-term incumbent Cochran by 7,667 votes out of the 392,197 cast statewide.
McDaniel claims that his campaign has found about 15,000 questionable ballots statewide and, through post election polling, antidotal evidence and other mechanisms, he argues that those were Cochran votes .
But Cochran and many others say the vast majority of the questionable ballots that the McDaniel campaign claims to have found are not that, but simple mistakes at the most that have no impact on the election outcome.
McDaniel also is pointing to a state law that says a person should not vote in a party primary unless the voter intends to support the party nominee in the general election. McDaniel says Cochran was able to win with the aid of Democratic voters, primarily African Americans, who were convinced to vote for Cochran after his campaign and supporters aired racially charged ads against McDaniel.
In the past, the courts have ruled the law saying people should not vote in a primary unless they plan to support the party’s nominee in the general election was unenforceable.