Angling to prove that some people who voted in the June 24 runoff election that killed his Senate chances also cast ballots in the June 3 Democratic primary, state Sen. Chris McDaniel on Monday night implored the Mississippi Supreme Court for an emergency order mandating his access to original poll books.
After being forced into a runoff, the tea party-backed McDaniel last month was narrowly defeated by six-term Republican Sen. Thad Cochran. In his post-vote count remarks, McDaniel refused to concede, instead hinting that the vote was illegally tainted by crossover Democrats.
"We have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters," McDaniel said at the time.
Now hoping to persuade the court to order a new runoff, McDaniel's lawyers are arguing their right to view full original voting records, including birthdates. Though Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, has pointed to an election law that bans the release of birthdates, McDaniel's lawyers have cited one example of a father, son and grandson who share both a name and an address as rationale behind their request.
"That's one. Do you think you're going to overturn this whole election with one example?" Tim Holleman, a Gulfport lawyer representing Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker, asked the Mississippi Sun-Herald. McDaniel's campaign team, Holleman said, is merely "grasping at straws."
It's just the latest in the bitter saga, prompted by a pricey primary battle for both candidates.
Initially, McDaniel and his supporters noted a defunct Mississippi law that requires primary voters to support a party's nominee in November. Election officials confirmed before polls opened last month that the law is functionally unenforceable, and that any voter who did not cast a Democratic ballot June 3 was legally cleared to participate in the Republican runoff.