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A fight beyond the bitter end in Mississippi Republican Senate Primary (#MSSen)

A fight beyond the bitter end in Mississippi Republican Senate Primary (#MSSen)

Did Sen. Cochran endorse buying votes and running race-baiting ads against McDaniel?

Who would have thought that the Mississippi GOP Senate Primary race would be more exciting and last longer than the World Cup soccer tournament? Well, it’s happening.

You may recall that allegations surfaced that incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) supporters engaged in flagrant race-baiting tactics against Cochran’s June 24 runoff opponent — State Sen. Chris McDaniel. These vicious racial attacks were used by a third party SuperPAC to bash McDaniel’s conservative supporters in order to gin up support by traditional Democratic African-American voters and have them vote for Cochran in the runoff.

Crushing the Tea Party was the goal of the Republican Party, even if it came at a “staggering price.”

Crushing supporters of expanding government and a system of pork barrel politics, not such a priority.

So remind me again, why am I a Republican?

Because it beats being a Democrat?

When the Republican Party establishment needs Democratic voters looking for more government and more pork to win Republican primaries, that’s not a good enough excuse anymore.

These first round of allegations about race-baiting campaign ads were bad enough. But the news just seems to get worse each day for the Cochran camp and his supporters. The latest blockbuster allegation: Cochran’s campaign allegedly gave cash to an African-American preacher so he could literally buy votes for the Senator in the runoff.

Rev. Stevie Fielder, an associate pastor at First Union Missionary Baptist Church in Meridian, Mississippi, says Cochran’s campaign “told me to offer blacks $15 each and to vote for Thad.”

Fielder, who was paid by freelance journalist Charles C. Johnson for the story, provided a new outlet launched by Johnson——with four text messages from a person purporting to be Cochran campaign staffer Saleem Baird.

The messages cite an official Cochran campaign email address—[email protected]—and include detailed discussions of the campaign providing envelopes of money to distribute to people who vote.

“Send me individual names and amounts along with home address to [email protected] and I’ll have money separated in envelopes at the office waiting for you,” one message, sent three days before the runoff, says.

Fielder said he helped distribute the Cochran cash for votes on a promise of eventually getting paid $16,000—and because a key Cochran campaign staffer convinced him that Cochran’s conservative challenger state Sen. Chris McDaniel was racist.

“They sold me on the fact that he was a racist and that the right thing to do was to keep him out of office,” Fielder said.

But Cochran’s campaign never paid, Fielder said.

This vote-buying allegation has lit up the right-of-center blogosphere and has become its own mini-scandal. Bloggers are debating who to trust, which sources are legitimate, and how deep the “GOP Establishment” is in the Mississippi muck of the Cochran runoff campaign. Fielder himself isn’t seen as a reliable witness by some in the MS black community, and Saleem Baird — Cochran’s campaign aide, and legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) also has a checkered past.

Now the Federal Elections Commission seems interested to know if any election laws or reporting laws were violated in the Cochran-McDaniel slug fest.

The Federal Election Commission is looking into whether Mississippi Conservatives PAC violated campaign finance law in its bid to help re-elect Mississippi U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

The inquiry, sent as a Request for Additional Information, or RFAI, provides another bit of drama in a heated primary battle in which Cochran narrowly defeated state senator Chris McDaniel.

The FEC, which monitors spending in federal elections, notified the political action committee that it may have failed to file one or more “24 hour reports,” which track “last minute” independent expenditures.

Political action committees are required to file the reports within the 24-hour window for any expenditures $1,000 or greater made between two and 20 days before an election. The regulation is meant to increase oversight as elections draw near.

When one clears all of the smoke aside from these ugly allegations, the fact of the matter is Cochran beat McDaniel in the June 24 runoff by less than 7,000 votes.

But the McDaniel campaign may have an ace in the hole on that one as well: widespread voter fraud or irregularities.

Chris McDaniel’s campaign has found 1,500 invalid votes in Hinds County and the search continues for more who voted in the Democratic primary on June 3 and in the Republican runoff on June 24, according to a report on

Even if the campaign doesn’t find enough invalid votes to erase Sen. Thad Cochran’s nearly 7,000-vote win, McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch said the “cancel by doubt” strategy could be used if enough irregularities can be found.

McDaniel has an ally on this voter fraud allegation as the conservative election watchdog “True The Vote” filed a lawsuit against Mississippi’s Secretary of State in Federal court on Tuesday.

The lawsuit comes as allegations that Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) campaign and his allies engaged in voter fraud to win last Tuesday’s runoff against conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Cochran bested McDaniel by fewer than 7,000 votes but did so with an overwhelming turnout from liberal Democrats in the black community.

“All we are asking is that the MS State Republican Party follow the law; allow their designated county representatives to inspect the poll books and ballots, give them the review time they are permitted by law, and allow them to uphold their responsibility to MS voters,” True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement about the suit. “True the Vote has been inundated with reports from voters across Mississippi who are outraged to see the integrity of this election being undermined so that politicos can get back to business as usual. Enough is enough.”

True The Vote wants the federal judge to order the state party and Secretary of State’s office to allow independent verification of the election results to ensure there were no “illegal votes.”

Everyone that thought the MS GOP Primary itself was a barnburner may want to strap their boots on a bit tighter — this thing gets uglier every day.


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“Did Sen. Cochran endorse buying votes and running race-baiting ads against McDaniel?”

The question presupposes that Ol’ Porkhands Cochran had the mental acuity to know…much less endorse…what was happening.

I think that has to be shown by some evidence, first.

We know who the sleaze-balls are and it ain’t the tea-party

OnTheLeftCoast | July 2, 2014 at 3:51 pm

And that, boys and girls is why Americans make great poll watchers for foreign elections: when it comes to dirty elections, we wrote the book.

Fielder is not an “associate pastor” at FUMBC, he has no role at all and merely calls himself Reverend – much like Al Sharpton.

Charles C. Johnson, who “broke” the story, PAID Fielder for the story.

The McDaniel campaign says they paid Fielder to GOTV, as they did many others, with $300 up front and $300 more when he produced the list of people he drove to the polls. He did nothing and so had no list, so he got no more money.

That’s for those interested in the other side of the story.

    Ragspierre in reply to Estragon. | July 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm


    Are you denying the robo-calls and flyers used to race-bait for Ol’ Porkhands…???

    Links there, too, please.

      Doc Holliday in reply to Ragspierre. | July 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm

      The only source for the recorded robocall and flyers is the same Charles Johnson that paid Fielder for his story. Which is odd.

      I was reading at another site, only three people have pictures of the flyer. They are all the same picture. Only one of those three people can show the back, and none of em can actually show who made the flyer. Shouldn’t there be more copies of the actual flyer, not people just recycling the same image they pulled from Twitter or Facebook after Johnson broke his “scoop?”

      Been a lot of conjecture, but something here doesn’t pass the smell test.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Estragon. | July 2, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    I do not know what to make of Johnson, and especially of Fielder.
    Fielder claims he was given money to give to voters and promised $16,000 which he never got. The guy is admitting to a felony and who knows this may be a rope a dope thing like Bill Clintons black son.

    Still I think the republicans who are not in either camp will align in one way or another, and if looks like Cochran is weak they will use this as leverage against him. Either quit or go to jail, or at least be investigated to hell.

    In the meantime anger is spreading:

      Doc Holliday in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | July 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

      My thoughts are, the good people of Mississippi will align with their Senator, and not with the narcissistic jackwagon who’s trying to slime him, but has no actual evidence to back up his claims.

      That’s just me, though.

      There was a timely piece today at Business Insider which really reflects my feelings on the whole sorry matter. I rather suspect there are quite a few others who feel the same way.

      Chris McDaniel: “The Sorest Loser I Have Ever Seen”

        txantimedia in reply to Doc Holliday. | July 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

        Let me get this straight. Cochran calls McDaniel and all Tea Party followers racists, and you accuse McDaniel of sliming Cochran? Interesting take on what’s going on.

        Ragspierre in reply to Doc Holliday. | July 3, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        Well, “Doc”, it took a while, but we finally smoked you.

        You are just a concern troll.

        I only found your prior allusion to McDanial at Toilet Paper Mau-maus, but was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

        When you come back with a citation to Business Insider (reliably Collectivist), that told the tale.

        But this puts the icing on your cake…meaning you are baked here, boy.

        You morons always try too hard, doncha…???

Henry Hawkins | July 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Another proud moment for the vaunted GOP establishment.

If yer gonna be just like them there’s no point in beating them.

“GOP’s other Mississippi senator finds race-baiting other Republicans funny”

There is plenty of time to make sure Sen Wicker is replaced by a Republican who doesn’t think race-baiting fraud is funny.

MouseTheLuckyDog | July 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

The nature of the illegal votes is the people who voted in the Democratic primary then went and voted in the Republican runoff.
The runoff is essentially a “do-over” of the Republican primary. So by by doing the said act, you are voting in both the Democratic and Republican primary, which is illegal.

It is actually codified in Mississippi laws. ( Though I think in other states where it is not, the same argument could work. ) It is also codified that if enough illegal votes are found to cast doubt on the election, the election in invalidated.

To slightly correct the article, at this point 3,300 illegal votes have been found

    Doc Holliday in reply to MouseTheLuckyDog. | July 2, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    To slightly correct your comment: At this point McDaniel says his supporters have found 3,300 ineligible votes, but no one has independently verified that claim.

Humphrey's Executor | July 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Why in the world are members of the other party allowed to vote in a party primary? Can someone explain the thinking there?

    Doc Holliday in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | July 2, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    It’s called an “open primary.” Not really all that uncommon in the South.

      Humphrey's Executor in reply to Doc Holliday. | July 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      I just don’t think it’s good idea, for reasons that now seem all too obvious.

        tom swift in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | July 2, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        What would you prefer? Only voters registered as D or R can vote in those primaries? Independents can’t vote at all? What would prevent Ds from registering as Rs solely so they can sabotage Republican primaries? They can still vote D in the real election no matter how they’re registered.

          Radegunda in reply to tom swift. | July 3, 2014 at 2:19 am

          Open primaries are an invitation to try to lower the quality of candidate on the ideological side you strongly oppose, thus depriving people who support that side of a strong candidate, and giving inferior options to all general-election voters,

          If you want a say in a party’s selection of its candidate, register for that party. If you register independent, you’re officially saying you have no particular interest or stake in any party, so it’s reasonable that you shouldn’t have a say in selecting a party’s candidate.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | July 3, 2014 at 8:28 am

          Au contraire. Independents are the ones who might actually have genuine interest in both candidates.

          tom swift in reply to tom swift. | July 3, 2014 at 8:34 am

          Open primaries are an invitation to try to lower the quality of candidate on the ideological side you strongly oppose,

          The tactic is obvious enough. But a closed primary would do nothing to hinder it.

    PersonFromPorlock in reply to Humphrey's Executor. | July 2, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    The voting is paid for with public money, so there’s no way to exclude any of the public. It’s their money.

DINORightMarie | July 2, 2014 at 6:11 pm

Here is a link to get updates as of last night:

There are allegations galore. Sounds like Barbour’s gang is working hard to keep Thad shoveling the pork back home to Ol’ Miss.

NC Mountain Girl | July 2, 2014 at 8:54 pm

Open primaries are not uncommon. But in states that also have a rule that there will be a run off unless the winning primary candidate cross some threshold (Both 40 and 50% of the total votes cast in that race are common) a voter’s designation of a party preference in the primary is binding on the runoff.

Two things that are illegal may have happened in Mississippi. One is that voters who chose a Democrat ballot for the primary were allowed to take a Republican ballot in the run off. That is illegal-with both the voter and the election judges/Board of Election officials subject to legal sanction. The other is that “walking around money” was used to entice low information black voters who had not voted in the primary to vote Republican in the run off. Buying votes is also illegal.

JackRussellTerrierist | July 2, 2014 at 9:11 pm

90% of the GOP are worthless bastards. So what are the other 10% going to do?

Palin had it right all along.

Per: @ScottSimmonsNwz “Cochran news conference at 2pm as McDaniel camp claims 4900 cases of voter irregularity”

Mississippi voter here. I am amazed by some of the comments and pontifications by people that don’t even know our voting laws. It has made me reconsider my input on matters in other states.

So far, there has been no documentation of illegal votes. Just because McDaniel says it does not make it true. For example, he has stated that there were 190 illegal votes at the Fondren Presbyterian precinct in Hinds County. The problem with that is only 26 people voted in the Democrat primary on June 3rd. Assuming that those people voted again in the Republican primary, the maximum number of illegal votes would be 26. There are several examples of this type of inflation whenever his camp begins giving details. He says there were 1500 documented cases of Democrats voting on June 24th, but he fails to state that part of Hinds County is in Third Congressional District which was having a run-off for their Democrat congressional candidate that day. It is entirely possible that those 1500 allegedly illegal votes are legal votes that were cast in the Democrat run-off, not the Republican run-off.

The outside parties that have come into our state and made misstatements have made this matter worse. Charles C. Johnson tweeted that the Secretary of State barred Tea Party representatives from reviewing voter rolls when all he did was send a letter reminding these Clerks what Mississippi law is regarding this matter. You can see the actual letter here: Before Secretary Hoseman sent the letter, Charles C. Johnson tweeted a copy of a voter roll page that he stated proved that a Hinds County Democrat voted in the primary and run-off (remember there was a Third Congressional District Democrat run-off), and this tweet included the person’s personally identifiable information, including their SS#. So Hoseman writes a letter reminding these Clerks that Mississippi law requires personally identifiable information be redacted before release, and Johnson tweets that he is barring Tea Party representatives from viewing. And this inaccurate story goes viral. No one has said that they can’t view the records, they just can’t see the un-redacted copies. And this inaccurate story goes viral.

It has been reported that The True the Vote filed a lawsuit alleging they are not allowed to view the voter information. That is incorrect. The lawsuit states that Mississippi law is in conflict with Federal voting law because Mississippi public records law includes DOB as personally identifiable information that must be redacted while Federal law does not. Our public records law which are at issue were amended in 2008. Know who voted for that bill? Chris McDaniel.

Finally, I have seen a lot of statements from people incredulous that Cochran could have black support. There is a large black middle class in Mississippi. The are educated, intelligent and realize that Mississippi will probably elect a Republican Senator. In 2008, the largest number of black voters went to the polls to vote for the first black president, and McCain still won the state by 200,000 votes. Cochran got about 50,000 more votes than McCain, so it is highly probable that blacks voted him then. So why would they not want to have their voice heard in the primary that probably will decide who will be the next Senator? Their dislike of McDaniel did not develop in June when Cochran reached out to the black community. There have been numerous articles about blacks planning to vote in the Republican Senate primary. McDaniel even commented on this in December on his Facebook page (of course, he made it a dig at Cochran). McDaniel could have tried to reach out to them; he did not. He can’t ignore a huge segment of the state’s population and then get mad when they do not support him and vote for his opponent. When McDaniel announced the Sunday before the run-off that he would have watchers at predominately black precincts, that galvanized black voters to vote against him. I think it was the fear that McDaniel could win that drove many blacks to vote in the run-off more so than anything the Cochran campaign did. Now he tries to delegitimize their vote by making it sound like they were welfare queens that got bused to the polls and paid for their vote when there is no evidence of that happening. How are people defending him?

    tom swift in reply to Annie. | July 3, 2014 at 1:24 am

    So Hoseman writes a letter reminding these Clerks that Mississippi law requires personally identifiable information be redacted before release, and Johnson tweets that he is barring Tea Party representatives from viewing. And this inaccurate story goes viral.

    How is the story inaccurate? For whatever reason, Tea Party representatives are barred from viewing information which would determine if voter fraud has been committed. Any useless information which they are permitted to view doesn’t change that. If the information identifying the voter is redacted, how can anyone (outside the Clerk’s office) tell if any particular voter voted twice?

    bw222 in reply to Annie. | July 3, 2014 at 4:39 am

    It appears you have a dog in this race – a comatose dog incapable of debating or making public appearances, but nevertheless a dog. Let’s just see how things play out.

    bw222 in reply to Annie. | July 3, 2014 at 4:57 am

    A Virginia Commonwealth University study published in 2011 (using 2009 data) showed the median black HOUSEHOLD income of $23,895 in Mississippi. This hardly indicates “a large black middle class in Mississippi.”

      Ragspierre in reply to bw222. | July 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

      But you don’t counter Annie’s statement with those numbers, nor her point.

      Her point was that Mississippi people of all colors could be voting GOP, which I think we all hope is true.

      She premised that with the idea that there is a “large” black middle-class in the state, though that is a weak premise since it does not follow that one income group or another WILL vote GOP.

      Your median income figures can…and really likely do…indicate a very poor cohort, and do nothing to indicate there is not a “large” middle-class black cohort.

      But Annie’s real red herring is in her root argument; that people are incredulous that Cochran could have black support. This is simply false. We’d all be delighted if there is a strong group of black GOP voters.

      We are…I damn sure am…outraged that Cochran would use the (apparent) ploy of recruiting a bunch of Deemocrat voters of ANY FLUCKING color to defeat the Conservative reformer in a GOP primary.

    txantimedia in reply to Annie. | July 3, 2014 at 10:47 am

    So you’re willing to accept the Cochran campaign’s claims about how many voted in a particular precinct without seeing any evidence to prove that but you are skeptical about the claims of the McDaniel campaign because they haven’t produced any proof.

    At least we know whose side you’re on.

Well, if McDaniel doesn’t have the irregular votes that he says he does, he’s going to have a hard time before a judge, won’t he?
Maybe we should just sit back and let the process work itself out.

Interesting article on who supported Mississippi Conservatives, the group that supported Cochran and funded the race-baiting radio ads:

I find it interesting that all the comments from people leaning towards Cochran center on attacking Charles, but fail to mention J. Christian Adams formerly DOJ civil rights attorney has filed suit over voter registration and opening of poll books as required by law. Also true the vote, who Ed Meese is involved with has also sued in court. Katherine has gone so far as to say that she believes based on what they have inspected, McDaniels may have won the original June 3rd over 50% needed. Of course, for people here supporting Cochran/Barbour, it makes a more convenient argument to focus on Charles and avoid the people with stellar reputations who are making very credible claims and would not be risking going in front of a judge and destroy their careers and reps. Meanwhile the radio ads were run repeatedly so I think more than three could probably back that up and as for the flier, once again Patterico is no bomb thrower, but an assistantant DA I believe and just wants fraud stopped with no dog in the hunt unlike Annie apparently has.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to jetloss. | July 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I think that you will find very few Cochran supporters expect for Annie the shill, who seems to read right from Cochran’s talking points here.

According to Dan Reihl, McDaniel camp has officially started challenge. Possibly get to truth one way or the other.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to jetloss. | July 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    According to Time McDaniel has officially sent a notice of Intent to Challenge to Cochran.

    Possibly he found the votes?

I can’t imagine they would have if they did not find enough to back it up as it cost to challenge. True the Vote seemed very confident when they released their press release on court challenge. Hoping they can’t all be wrong

memomachine | July 4, 2014 at 7:45 am

Now this is making me wonder if the primary reason why the GOP has had all the urgency and speed of turtle in investigating the IRS scandal isn’t because they want to keep it in the news for the 2014 election cycle. But rather because the road to perdition connects from Lois Lerner not just to the White House but to the Speaker of the House et al.

And why such flagrant nonsense like the IRSs’ most recent computer-ate-my-emails claptrap isn’t getting even more pushback is due to the big GOP names on those email distribution lists. After all the Establishment GOP types didn’t seem all that broken up by the pale shadow of influence the Tea Party had in 2012. And we all know how conniving the Establishment GOP is with Democrats when it comes to mutually advantageous goals.

    MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to memomachine. | July 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I suspect there are some who would like to start impeachment proceedings, but don’t want to do it till after the election.