Cochran declared winner of runoff

The Associated Press declared Sen. Thad Cochran the victor in Mississippi’s heated Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate.  With 99.9% of precincts reporting, Cochran led with 50.8% of the vote and just over 6,000 more votes than Chris McDaniel.  The June 24th runoff was truly remarkable with more than 60,000 votes being cast than in the June 3rd Primary (in an off-year election, no less).

CNN reported, “Cochran’s backers turned to Democrats, especially African-Americans, who make up 37% of the state’s population.”  Breitbart added, “[A]allegations flew that Cochran allies were using ‘walking around money’ to incentivize Democrats to the polls.  Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole, for instance, said Cochran operatives were paying people in the black community to donate to Cochran.”  Such reports may inspire a McDaniel challenge since anyone who voted in the June 3rd Democrat Primary are ineligible to vote in the Republican runoff in accordance with state law (Mississippi Code § 23-15-575).

In accordance with Mississippi Code § 23-15-599, the Republican Party must certify the primary election vote by July 4th (within 10 Days of the election).

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Mississippi runoff election information

Neither Thad Cochran nor Chris McDaniel earned “50% +1” of the vote in the June 3rd primary election so the Republican Party will conduct a runoff election June 24th.  In accordance with MS Code § 23-15-305, a primary candidate must have a majority of the vote cast to represent their party in the primary election.  For an interesting history on the provision, read the Washington Post’s “Runoff elections a relic of the Democratic South.”

The Clarion-Ledger identified the following rules for runoff elections in their June 4th report:

  • Voters who didn’t vote in Tuesday’s primary election can vote in the June 24 runoff election
  • If a person voted in the Democratic primary Tuesday, he or she can’t vote in the June 24th Republican runoff or vice versa
  • If a voter voted in the Republican primary, the voter can vote in the Republican runoff

A voter in the Democrat primary cannot participate in the Republican primary runoff due to provisions of MS Code § 23-15-575.  This statute states, “No person shall be eligible to participate in any primary election unless he intends to support the nominations made in the primary in which he participates.”  By voting in the Democrat Primary, the voter has already pledged their General Election vote to the Democrat nominee.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann simplified the information above on the Paul Gallo Radio Show by stating, “Let’s put it this way, people who voted in the Democratic primary, they’re all about 100,000 of them, they can’t vote in the Republican primary.  Everybody else can. . . Everyone who didn’t vote. . . have at it.”  This presumes that the voter was eligible and registered to vote for the June 3rd primary.

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