Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel indicated moments ago that he’s not yet conceding last night’s runoff, arguing the election was “rife with irregularities” that need to be investigated.
With all precincts reporting, six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) had 191,508 votes to McDaniel’s 184,815 — 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent.
According to FiveThirtyEight, “About 375,000 voters showed up Tuesday compared with 318,904 on June 3, an increase of more than 17 percent. Cochran raised his vote total by more than 38,000 votes, while McDaniel pulled in only an additional 30,000. That was more than enough to erase McDaniel’s 1,386 vote lead in the first round.”
Cochran’s strategy rested on widening the voter base: courting African-Americans who could legally vote in the runoff regardless of party as long as they hadn’t cast a ballot in the Democratic primary three weeks ago.
“The conservative movement is alive in Mississippi,” McDaniel said in a statement. “The Republicans who voted last night made it clear they’re looking for conservative change in Mississippi.”
“But the results also tell another story. They tell the story of some members of our party who are willing to engage in tactics unbecoming of the party of Ronald Reagan. It’s no wonder so many conservatives don’t feel welcome in the Republican Party,” he continued.
“If our party and our conservative movement are to co-exist, it is paramount that we ensure the sanctity of the election process is upheld. And we will do that. In the case of yesterday’s election, we must be absolutely certain that our Republican primary was won by Republican voters.”
McDaniel promised that “in the coming days, our team will look into the irregularities to determine whether a challenge is warranted.”
“After we’ve examined the data, we will make a decision about whether and how to procede [sic],” he said.
Cochran got some Twitter nods from his colleagues after his victory.
“Congrats to Thad Cochran on his victory tonight! Thad has always stood up for Mississippi and the Magnolia State is lucky to have him,” tweeted Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)