Chris McDaniel Is Not Conceding

by Eliana Johnson

The non-concession speech he delivered to supporters on Tuesday was one clue that Chris McDaniel wasn’t going down without a fight, but early Wednesday evening he made it official: He is not conceding the Senate primary to Thad Cochran just yet.

Fewer than 7,000 votes separated Cochran and McDaniel, and McDaniel said in a statement that “the sanctity of the election process” must be upheld in order for the Republican party and the conservative movement to coexist.

He is apparently doubting the sanctity of that process. “In the coming days, our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted,” he continued. “After we’ve examined the data, we will make a decision about whether and how to proceed.”

Mississippi prohibits anybody who voted in one party’s primary from casting a ballot in another party’s run-off, so those who voted in the Democratic primary on June 3 were by law prohibited from voting on Tuesday. McDaniel is raising the possibility that some may have skirted that law. “We must be absolutely certain that our Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” he said.

But it’s not quite that simple. Democrats who did not vote in their party’s primary were free to vote in the GOP runoff on Tuesday, so making certain that the primary was won by Republican voters may not get McDaniel too far. He says that “the Republicans who voted last night made it clear they’re looking for conservative change in Mississippi,” but if the Democrats who cast their ballots did so lawfully, it won’t matter.