Supreme Court rejects McDaniel Senate primary challenge
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[October 25, 2014]
By Emily Le Coz
JACKSON Miss. (Reuters) - The Mississippi
Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Republican primary challenge by
former U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel, possibly ending his legal
effort to overturn the June result that he alleged was stolen by
incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran.
In a split decision, justices affirmed a lower court ruling
dismissing McDaniel’s case, saying he filed it after the statutory
"While we disagree with the majority, since there was no deadline in
the statute to file a challenge, we are glad the Supreme Court
finally ruled so Mississippi conservatives can move forward into
2015," McDaniel's campaign attorney, Mitch Tyner, said in a
Mississippi law allows a candidate 20 days after a statewide primary
election to contest the results. McDaniel, a Tea Party-backed
candidate who ran a fierce campaign, filed his challenge 41 days
McDaniel argued the deadline no longer mattered because the courts
had already considered a 2004 election challenge filed 34 days after
a primary, but the justices disagreed.
“We are not persuaded by his argument,” Justice Leslie D. King wrote
in the 30-page order. He was joined in his opinion by three other
Two justices dissented, including Josiah Dennis Coleman, who called
McDaniel’s charges “too substantial and material” to be constrained
by the deadline and said he would have reversed the lower court’s
"Today’s ruling by Mississippi’s highest court brings an end to the
challenge of the primary runoff election and reconfirms the voters’
choice of Thad Cochran as the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate,"
according to a statement by lawyers representing the Cochran
[to top of second column]
The decision comes four months after the June 24 primary runoff that
McDaniel lost to Cochran by roughly 7,700 votes.
McDaniel refused to concede, claiming that Cochran encouraged voter
fraud and that thousands of ballots had been improperly cast by
Democrats, mostly African-Americans, or mishandled by county
His campaign appealed to the state's high court after a circuit
court judge, determining his lawyers had taken too long to file an
initial complaint with the state Republican Party, dismissed the
claim last month.
Cochran’s campaign had maintained that McDaniel’s challenge was
without merit and said that Cochran was focused on the Nov. 4
(Reporting by Emily Le Coz; Editing by David Adams and Eric Beech)
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