The long hot summer election continues

Published 10:36am Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Just like the summer heat this time of year, it doesn’t appear the U.S. Senate Republican Primary will be taking a break any time soon.

Following a long campaign slung with mud, there was the razor-close first primary June 3 in which challenger and state Sen. Chris McDaniel edged out a narrow plurality against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran, but came short of obtaining 50 percent plus one of the votes, pushing the race into a runoff.

Then a few weeks later, Cochran emerged the winner in the June 24 second primary. The state Republican Party went on to certify the final results this Monday and said that Cochran received 194,932 votes to defeat McDaniel’s 187,265, for a 7,667-vote margin.

But McDaniel is still not conceding defeat and has his supporters out across the state, including in Lincoln County, going through poll books and ballots looking for illegal crossover voting.

The ballot review in Lincoln County started Monday and continued through Tuesday afternoon. Both McDaniel campaign representatives and Cochran campaign representatives have been present for the review of ballots in each county across the state.

The end doesn’t appear to be coming any time soon though. McDaniel’s attorney Mitch Tyner said Monday it may be days before the campaign completes its review of ballots cast in the July 3 Democratic primary and the June 24 Republican runoff and then is ready to file a formal challenge to the election.

State law forbids voters from casting a ballot in one party’s primary and crossing over to vote in the other party’s runoff in the same election series, but there is no requirement for voters to register with a party.

Besides looking for crossover votes, Tyner said the McDaniel campaign also is looking for improperly cast absentee votes.

The lengthy review of the ballots is taking up much time and so far there has been little basis shown for McDaniel’s claims of widespread erroneous voting.

But to borrow a quote from the immortal Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”