Project Wonderful

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

It's a Mess-issippi

If you're like me and have Google alerts for "voters" and "election" (because of course, why wouldn't you?) you've probably heard a lot about the Mississippi Republican primary. It's in my Google alerts about every other day and just when I think it's over, it's not. On the off chance you are not like me in the Google alerts regard, let me walk you through it.

State Senator and Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel decided to challenge incumbent Republican Senator (and Joe Liberman look alike contest winner) Thad Cochran who has represented Mississippi since Night Fever was number two on the music charts. It was a particularly nasty fight during which McDaniel's supporters somewhat inexplicably broke into a nursing home to photograph Cochran's ailing wife. McDaniel tea partied so hard that he actually narrowly beat Cochran in votes cast in the June 3rd primary. But because a third party candidate gained 1.5% of the vote, neither Cochran nor McDaniel earned a majority of votes, and both candidates continued on to a June 24th runoff.

At this point, the Cochran campaign kicked it into high gear because a) Cochran came very close to being ousted outright in the primary and b) usually when things go to a runoff incumbent candidates are boned. One of Cochran's key strategies for the runoff was courting African Americans and Democrats (but it's Mississippi, so I repeat myself) by reminding them of the resources he's brought to the state. This was a clear contrast with McDaniel who is racist and favors abolishing federal funding for education. Democrats heard Cochran's message and thought, "It's unlikely that a Dem is going to win this seat anyway, let's go with the guy who's not crazy." Cochran won the runoff by 7,667 votes thanks in large part to African American voters.

Mississippi does not have party registration, which means that any voter who did not cast a ballot in the Democratic primary was eligible to vote in the runoff. This allows traditional Democratic voters to vote in the Republican primary and visa versa, which in fact McDaniel did in 2003. However, sorest of all possible losers, Chris McDaniel is claiming that voters who had voted in the Democratic primary also voted in the runoff and is asking for a redo due to "irregularities" which is what Tea Partiers call it when black people vote in Mississippi.

So that's where we're at. I will let you know what happens with this potential meta-redo (three-do? Inception style redo within a redo?) but my guess is that it's not happening. Currently there is a court case led by Texas voting "rights" group True the Vote to compel the release of June 24th voter information.

Can't wait to go down to Mississippi myself in a couple of weeks. Should be a blast!

Campaign Love and Mine,


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