Tea Party nut's absurd quest: Void a whole county and declare me the winner!

Defeated Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel is challenging primary results, and the complaint is hilarious

Published August 5, 2014 5:35PM (EDT)

Chris McDaniel          (Reuters/Jonathan Bachman)
Chris McDaniel (Reuters/Jonathan Bachman)

After six weeks of dogged research into alleged voter fraud, the campaign of defeated (?) Tea Party challenger Chris McDaniel has submitted a "formal" complaint to the Mississippi Republican Party to change the results of the June 24 runoff election. We put "formal" in scare quotes like that because the complaint is hilarious and wonderful and demands to be made fun of. So be it.

The McDaniel campaign, backed by lawyer Mitch Tyner, does not ask for a new election to be held. It makes things easier than that for the Republican Party: All it has to do is completely throw out the results for either one or various counties that voted heavily for Sen. Thad Cochran and declare McDaniel the winner. Easy.

You can tell it's going to be a Very Special document from the outset, as it consistently refers to "Democrat voters" and the "Democrat Party" and "illegal Democrat votes" and so forth. Referring to the Democratic Party, and Democratic voters, as the "Democrat Party" and "Democrat voters" is a common rhetorical slight employed by Republicans. It sort of snaps off the tongue in disgust. Typically, though, in an official legal submission, one would use the proper term for one of the country's two major political parties. Not here, though. At least the campaign did have the sense to weed out (some) language referring to "black Democrat votes" from the first draft.

The campaign argues that various counties that went heavily for Cochran didn't follow proper election protocol, which opened the door for fraudulent practices. In other words, a hell of a lot of black people voted for Thad Cochran, giving Cochran more votes than Chris McDaniel, which means that this Republican primary was some bullshit. Science says so: "Based on a scientific, reliable methodology, a comparative analysis of county-by-county increases indicates that Cochran's vote increases were correlated to the percentage of blacks that live in each county," the complaint reads. (You've got to love the contrast in styles here: Based on advanced mathematical formulae, it was the blacks done did it.) "A regression analysis of county vote results from both the June 3 and June 24 elections with the percentage of blacks and non-blacks who make up each county's population show that, without the predominantly Democrat voter participation in the Republican runoff, Cochran would have lost the runoff election by about 25,000 votes." Indeed, if fewer people had voted for Thad Cochran, Chris McDaniel would have pulled it off.

Team McDaniel's case that votes by these "blacks" shouldn't count rests on a strange piece of Mississippi election law that "protects party primaries from such crossover voting by prohibiting any person from participating in a party primary election unless that person intends to support the party nominations made in that primary." That the law actually forbids "such crossover voting" is itself in question. It's also a law that's obviously unenforceable and one would think, were it ever fully challenged, unconstitutional, given that it criminalizes thought and speech.

The campaign has all sorts of evidence that people violated this law. Just look at them all, on the Twitter machine:

Cochran campaign secured illegal votes.

8. The Cochran campaign's solicitation was successful in securing Democrat votes. On June 24 and days immediately following, social media sites were active. People were discussing the runoff election. Those discussions included many statements by identified persons that they (a) were Democrat voters, (b) voted for Cochran in the June 24 Republican runoff election, and (c) intended to vote Democrat in November 2014. Attached as Exhibit "C" are examples. They include statements like Hap Thompson's, "mcdaniels scared too many people. that is why us dems voted against him. now we will vote for childers.." Lauren Kennedy wrote: "I'm democrat. ... I voted today as a democrat voting for republican Thad Cochran." Cathy Clark posted, "I'm not pro Cochran... just anti Chris!!! #it's politics #Childress [sic] in November!"

Obviously these tweeters should be jailed and McDaniel declared president of Mississippi for life.

After establishing all the examples of fraud and improper attention paid to election protocol, McDaniel and co. offer the party their simple path toward overturning Cochran's win: just throw out the results from Hinds County! Don't worry about going through the ballots to determine which should count and which shouldn't -- just throw the whole thing out. And maybe some other counties too, if you feel like it. But honestly Hinds is enough, just do Hinds.

62. Fraudulent voting, insecure ballot boxes and election records, and other violations of the Mississippi Election Code vitiated the integrity of the June 24 Republican Party primary runoff election in Hinds County. If the Hinds County results are included in the statewide results, they contaminate the entire runoff election. They destroy the integrity of the runoff election and make the will of qualified Republican electors impossible to determine. For that reason alone, the Hinds County results must be excluded from the statewide results.

63. For other counties involved in permitting fraudulent voting, along with insecure ballot boxes and election records (like Claiborne, Coahoma, Madison, and Sunflower), the analysis is the same.

64. If Hinds County results are excluded from the statewide count, as the remedy for fraud requires, the statewide results show that Chris McDaniel is the choice of the qualified Republican electors to the nominee for U.S. Senate. The results are the same if the results from Claiborne, Coahoma, Madison, and Sunflower Counties are likewise excluded.

That's the big ask: because some voters in Hinds County (where there are many Blah People) may have voted illegally, based on the McDaniel campaign's interpretation of an insane and possibly unconstitutional law, all of the votes in the county must be thrown out, and Chris McDaniel must be declared the winner.

What will the Mississippi Republican Party say to this? How about "no." Does "no" work for you, Chris?

By Jim Newell

Jim Newell covers politics and media for Salon.

MORE FROM Jim Newell