By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – How close was it?
Challenger Chris McDaniel got 1,418 more votes than six-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the June 3 Republican primary, according to certified election results, out of nearly 319,000 cast.
McDaniel fell 3,436 votes short of the the 50 percent-plus one he needed to avoid a runoff.
Friday was the deadline for the state Republican and Democratic parties to deliver to the Secretary of State’s office final, certified results from the June 3 primary.
McDaniel, a second-term state senator from Ellisville, captured 157,733 votes, or 49.46 percent of the total, compared to 156,315, or 49.02 percent for Cochran. Little-known Thomas Carey of Hernando received 4,854 votes, or 1.52 percent, to force a runoff between Cochran and McDaniel.
While the election was not certified until Friday, McDaniel and Cochran have known since late on June 3 that a runoff would be required and both have been campaigning aggressively throughout the state.
The winner of the June 24 runoff will face Democrat Travis Childers of Booneville in the November general election.
Childers, a former 1st District U.S. House member, comfortably won the lower-profile Democratic primary with 63,548 votes, or 74 percent of the total, compared to 10,361, or 12.1 percent, for Bill Marcy of Vicksburg; 8,465, or 9.9 percent, for William Bond Compton Jr. of Meridian; and 3,492, or 4.1 percent, for Jonathan Rawl of Oxford.
The 318,902 vote total in the Republican primary was a record, outpacing the previous record of 294,100 who voted in the 2012 Republican presidential primary.
Only 85,866 voted in the Democratic primary, far short of the Democrats’ heyday in the state when more than 700,000 often cast ballots in their primary.
Still, Rickey Cole, state Democratic Party chair, said more voted in three of the four congressional districts in the Democratic primary than did in 2012.
Ron Dickey of DeSoto County won the Democratic nomination in the 1st Congressional District with 9,741 votes, or 66 percent, against Rex Weathers of Alcorn County and will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.