Chris McDaniel failed to unseat U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the Mississippi Republican primary, and Tea Party activists are taking the loss as hard as the candidate.
McDaniel, a state senator and former conservative talk show host, may challenge the results of Tuesday’s runoff election, according to some supporters, and the candidate himself has suggested possible voting irregularities.
“There is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual, about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats,” McDaniel said following the election.
Voters don't register by party in Mississippi, which prohibits residents from voting in a party primary if they don't intend to vote for that party's nominee -- although it's difficult to prove voter intent months in advance.
Cochran -- who has served in the U.S. Senate since the same year his challenger was born, in 1972 -- asked black voters, who tend to vote overwhelmingly Democrat, to cross party lines and support him in the runoff election, and a surge of voters in black precincts helped the incumbent to victory.
Judson Phillips, the leader of the online Tea Party Nation group that backed McDaniel, accused the “RINO wing” of the Republican Party of doing whatever it could to cling to power – even reach out to Democrats.
“The Republican Establishment thinks they have fought back an insurrection from conservatives and now we will meekly fall in line in November and support a RINO who needs Democrats to win? Never,” Phillips said in an email Wednesday morning to supporters.
He urged McDaniel to enter the November race between Cochran and Democrat Travis Childers as a write-in candidate.
Members of Tea Party express blamed McDaniel’s loss on “nefarious campaign tactics” and vowed to split from the Republican Party.
“If Cochran wins this #mssen race, the GOP is done,” said Amy Kremer, of Tea Party Express. “They teamed up with Dems to steal a race. Kiss the base goodbye.”
McDaniel refused to concede the race, arguing that he wanted to ensure the “sanctity” of the vote was upheld and the GOP race had been decided by Republican voters.
Ironically, voting records show McDaniel crossed party lines in 2003 to vote in the Democratic primary.
McDaniel initially denied doing so, but a spokesman later conceded the candidate had in order to “have a choice in local competitive races.”
Supporters suggested that Democrats who voted for Cochran had committed voter fraud.
“Every Democrat who voted for Cochran yesterday while intending to vote for Childers in November broke the law. That's fraud,” said Bryan Fischer, of the American Family Association. “If Democrats broke the law when they voted for Cochran, that's voter fraud and this is in fact a stolen election.”
Sarah Palin suggested last week on Facebook that Democratic activists had offered “scooby snacks” to black voters to encourage them to support Cochran, and she urged McDaniel to challenge the runoff results.
“There were several potentially illegal political games afoot in Mississippi to motivate Democrat voters to ‘switch’ over to the GOP for a day to help save a 42-year Republican member of Congress,” Palin said.
“On top of that, millions of dollars from out of state liberal billionaires like Mike Bloomberg poured in at the last minute on that same incumbent’s behalf,” added Palin, a former half-term governor of Alaska and failed vice presidential candidate who now lives in Arizona. “You have to ask yourself why?”
[Image via Facebook]
Watch Palin discuss the election results with Sean Hannity on Fox News posted online by NewsDropMedia: