Yesterday, Mitch Tyner — the attorney for the Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate campaign — briefly updated reporters on the status of their challenge in the Mississippi GOP runoff election. Tyner responded to a question about the 6,700 vote margin between McDaniel and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran and was confident of there would be a new election based on MS state law.

 (ineligible voters). However, I would be surprised if we don’t find 6,700. It’s very easy to see the Mississippi law holds that if there’s the difference between the Cochran camp and our camp — that vote difference — if there’s that many ineligible voters, then there’s automatically a new election.

Catherine Englebrecht, from True the Vote, also seems to be positive that McDaniel will prevail.

But is the state’s voting law on McDaniel’s side in such a cut and dried manner as his attorney states? Not so fast says a Mississippi law professor who spoke to the Washington Post.

We spoke with Matt Steffey, professor of law at the Mississippi College School of Law, to see if he agreed with Tyner’s assessment of what will happen next and, in case we didn’t already give it away, he didn’t. “He uses the word automatically, and I think that’s a very optimistic and self-serving reading of the law,” Steffey told us by phone. “I don’t think the cases can be fairly interpreted to say that if they come up with 6,700 illegal votes and can demonstrate that they’re illegal — it’s an overstatement of the law to say that it automatically demands a recount.”

“There’s simply no statute or case that holds that if the number of ineligible voters exceed the margin of victory then there’s automatically a recount,” Steffey said. “In fact, in 1983, the Mississippi Supreme Court held — and cited a number of cases — that a special election was not required even though the margin of victory [in the primary] was exceeded by the number of illegal votes.” That case was Noxubee County Democratic Executive Committee v. Russell. “The Court has expressly said that the rule does not mean that one must show that the number of illegal exceed the margin. They have held exactly the opposite of Mitch Tyner’s statement.”

Meanwhile a new figure inserted himself into the Mississippi GOP election mess: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas.

On Monday’s Mark Levin Show, Ted Cruz weighed in on the contentious (and ongoing) runoff election for the Mississippi Republican Senate nomination. “What happened in Mississippi was appalling,” Cruz told Levin. He said the conduct of the “Washington, D.C. Machine” was “incredibly disappointing” in the race between incumbent Senator Thad Cochran and Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel, who lost the runoff by around 6700 votes.

Noting that McDaniel won a sizeable majority of Republicans in the runoff election, Cruz, who is Vice Chairman for Grassroots Outreach of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said, “The D.C. Machine spent hundreds of thousands of dollars urging some 30,000-40,000 partisan Democrats to vote in the runoff, which changed the outcome.” Acknowledging that all Republicans want to grow the party, the Texas senator said the actions of the “D.C. Machine” did nothing to further that goal.

“Instead, the ads they ran were racially-charged false attacks and there were explicit promises to continue and expand the welfare state,” Cruz said. “And nobody has suggested that the Democrats who voted in the primary will actually vote Republican in the general election,” he added. ”Instead, they were just recruited to decide who the Republican nominee was and that’s unprincipled and it’s wrong.”

– The Missouri State Republican Chairman — Ed Martin — has now weighed in with a formal request for Republican National Chairman Reince Preibus to investigate the MS Senate campaign. Television and flyers targeting McDaniel featured racially-charged messages and those ads were reported to have been organized by an RNC Committeemember. Chairman Martin is requesting the RNC member’s involvement be investigated.

The entire letter from Martin to Preibus can be read below.

Martin Letter


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