Mississippi’s summertime temperatures reach temperatures hotter than nine circles of Hell. Mix in rising blood pressure of tea party supporters since Tuesday night, spontaneous combustion could rise in the Magnolia state.
Unofficial returns show six-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran squeaked by tea party favorite state Sen. Chris McDaniel, a margin of 1.8 percent. Remember, McDaniel received 1,386 more votes than Cochran in the GOP primary earlier this month. A third candidate receiving 1.5 percent forced the runoff.
McDaniel showed how much fight left him during his election-night speech at his Hattiesburg campaign party. For those uncertain, the tea party challenger seems unwilling to coalesce with the establishment GOP anytime soon.
And to be sure McDaniel spokesman Noel Frisch emailed this at 4:10 p.m. today.
Republican candidate for U.S. Senate (sic) issued a statement following a closely contested primary runoff election rife with irregularities.
Invoking Ronald Reagan’s message of liberty, freedom, and balance budgets, traditional values, and personal responsibility, McDaniel called for scrutiny of the election’s irregularities and for a thorough examination of the core principles of the Republican party.
“The conservative movement is alive in Mississippi,” McDaniel said. “The Republicans who voted last night made it clear they’re looking for conservative change in Mississippi.”
“But the results also tell another story,” McDaniel continued. “They tell the story of some members of our party who are willing to engage in tactics unbecoming of the party of Ronald Reagan. It’s no wonder so many conservatives don’t feel welcome in the Republican party,” McDaniel said.
“If our party and our conservative movement are to co-exist, it is paramount that we ensure the sanctity of the election process is upheld. And we will do that. In the case of yesterday’s election, we must be absolutely certain that our Republican primary was won by Republican voters.”
“In the coming days, our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted,” McDaniel continued. “After we’ve examined the data, we will make a decision about whether and how to procede,” he concluded.
A spokeswoman for Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said today political parties have 10 days after the election to certify the results.
Read Daily Journal Capitol reporter (and fellow blogger here) Bobby Harrison’s story of the runoff election here.
(Despite American Family Association President Tim Wildmon looking tired during our election-night coverage, the video really begins at Chris McDaniel’s post-election speech, definitely not a concession.)
Earlier today I spoke with Kyle Kondik, managing editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball, about the bruising primary battle’s national implications, defiance of traditional political thinking and bizarre events intermingled.
Based on McDaniel supporters’ Facebook posts after the election, Cochran shouldn’t expect to easily woo them in the general election – or ever.
Politico this published this related analysis piece today by Larry Sabato, Kondik and Geoffrey Shelly.