Chris McDaniel seeks cash to challenge "sham" Mississippi runoff

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel talks with members of the media after casting his ballot at the George Harrison Building on June 24, 2014 in Ellisville, Mississippi. Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Chris McDaniel, the tea party-backed conservative who lost to Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the Republican Senate primary last week is ready to mount a legal challenge to the election results - as soon as he can scrounge up some cash.

In an email to supporters Wednesday, McDaniel asked for contributions to an "Election Challenge Fund" to "help me contest this corrupt election."

"We have a long fight ahead of us. I know exactly how long and frustrating court battles can be, but I believe this will be worth it," he wrote. "There is too much at stake to back down from this fight. The problem is that court cases are expensive, and we don't currently have the resources to mount the legal challenge that this case deserves."

McDaniel called the runoff election a "sham" and accused Cochran of stealing the election with illegal votes from liberal Democrats. He claims to have found thousands of irregularities in the voting process already.

He announced plans to scrutinize the voting just hours after his defeat last week. McDaniels' camp has indicated they believe some Democrats broke the law by voting in the Democratic primary before supporting Cochran in the runoff, which is illegal.

Meanwhile, Cochran's campaign is fending off reports from a conservative blogger that they attempted to buy votes in Lauderdale County, according to the Clarion-Ledger. Charles Johnson of GotNews.com reports that a Cochran staffer was told to offer black voters in the Meridian, Miss., area $15 in exchange for a vote for Cochran.

While the staffer, Steve Fielder, claims he wasn't paid a promised $16,000 for his work, the Cochran campaign said he was offered $600 for standard get-out-the-vote work which was not properly completed.

"This is obviously a guy who ... sold his story to a blogger who's openly proclaiming he will pay people to tell him a story," Cochran campaign spokesman Jordan Russell told the paper.

Separately, the Clarion-Ledger reports that voter integrity organization True the Vote is suing the Mississippi Secretary of State for alleged violations of the Voting Rights Act, including being denied access to voting records. Thirteen plaintiffs joining True the Vote in the suit are all McDaniel supporters.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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