Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON — State. Sen. Chris McDaniel of Ellisville, who narrowly lost Tuesday in the Republican primary runoff in his bid to upend incumbent Thad Cochran indicated late Wednesday he still is not conceding.
“In the coming days, our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted,” McDaniel said late Wednesday in a statement. “After we’ve examined the data, we will make a decision about whether and how to proceed.”
Final, unofficial results show Cochran winning the runoff in his bids for his seventh term in the U.S. Senate by 191,508 votes or 50.9 percent to 184,815 votes or 49.1 percent.
The result comes after McDaniel had garnered about 1,400 more votes than Cochran in the June 3 first primary, but did not obtain the majority needed to avoid the runoff.
After the first primary, Cochran supporters said their goal was “to expand the electorate,” including by courting Democrats to vote in the Republican primary. They definitely increased turnout — by more than 57,000 votes — and, no doubt, some Democrats did cross over and vote in the primary, but the analysis is not conclusive as to what degree.
On Tuesday night in a defiant speech after the election was called for Cochran, McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite, said, in the Cochran campaign, “the conservative movement took a backseat to liberal Democrats.”
Under state law, people who did not vote in the Democratic primary on June 3 could vote in the Republican Senate runoff. Since Travis Childers of Booneville won the Democratic nomination for Senate on June 3 against little-known opposition, the turnout in the primary was low, meaning many people who traditionally vote Democratic could vote in the Republican runoff if they wanted to.
McDaniel supporters said their candidate won on Tuesday among true Republican voters.
McDaniel can file any protest of the results with the state Republican Party and, if not satisfied, can appeal to the courts.
In Wednesday’s statement, 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.”