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June 25, 2014 12:32 PM A Little Help from the Enemy

By Ed Kilgore

There’s no news yet about how, exactly, Chris McDaniel intends to challenge his 6,000 vote loss in Mississippi yesterday. His stated determination last night to “ensure that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters” is a crock since Mississippi has neither party registration nor closed primaries. And there’s no provision in Mississippi law for a recount.

But the angry people at Breitbart went to another interested person for an explanation of McDaniel’s options: state Democratic chairman Ricky Cole, who was very forthcoming:

In an interview by phone with Breitbart News late Tuesday evening after the McDaniel headquarters cleared out, state Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole said McDaniel should challenge the election results. “Clearly there was some sloppiness to say the least, and probably some failures to comply with the law,” Cole told Breitbart News.
“I listened to some of McDaniel’s speech, and in a race this close I’m sure there are irregularities that ought to be looked into,” Cole said. “I’ve been around a lot of close elections in my life. I think the candidate owes it to his supporters to make sure that everything was done on the up and up.”

Boy, betcha Cole was rolling his eyes madly at that point in the interview. But he had some pointers for the fiery right-winger furious about African-American votes for Cochran:

Cole said the most likely error in favor of Cochran could be where Democrats who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary were allowed to vote in the GOP primary runoff on Tuesday. “That’d be the very first thing I’d look for,” Cole said. “And that’s the easiest error that poll workers can make—whether it was an honest error or deliberate, I wouldn’t know. But that’d be the most common error that happens in a runoff—where voters who weren’t qualified because they participated in the other party’s primary would be allowed to vote by mistake.”
Cole said McDaniel could also challenge affidavit ballots, and how he said poll workers may not “reconcile the ballots they had at the beginning of the day with the number they have at the end of the day.”

The Democrat also offered some suggestions for where exactly Team McDaniel ought to look for irregularities:

Cole specifically noted the extensively high turnout in Hinds County, a predominantly Democratic area of inner-city Jackson where a key Cochran ally already accused of engaging in suspicious activity on Cochran’s behalf. “I’ve never seen a Republican primary with that many voters in it in Hinds County,” Cole said….
“I noticed in his speech, McDaniel said ‘dozens of irregularities,’” Cole said. “So I suspect he’ll look into some of the bigger counties like Hinds, Madison, maybe Bolivar up in the north delta—they had a big turnout. Forrest is always a place—that’s where the contested mayor’s race was last year. They went to court and it had to be done over because of irregularities. So, Forrest could be a place to look—but I don’t know where all these irregularities could be.”
“They or their representative can come inspect the contents of any box and make notes of any irregularities and once they compile whatever evidence they may have, then they present a challenge to the Republican State Executive Committee,” Cole said. “Then the Republican State Executive Committee would have to rule on it, and if either party was dissatisfied by the Republican State Executive Committee ruling you would appeal it to a circuit court and it would be heard de novo in the circuit court—which means the circuit court would look at everything the Republican executive committee did just so you don’t have to start completely from the start….”
Cole said that if enough irregularities are found and proven, there could be a new election ordered by a court—something that happened in a mayoral race just last year.

Now wouldn’t Mississippi Democrats love that! A new, nasty election with wingnuts watching every African-American voter in the state, and Travis Childers waiting in the wings. Maybe if it comes to court proceedings Cole can file an amicus brief. You know, just to make sure everything’s regular.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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