Politics
Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel waves to supporters before delivering a concession speech in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, June 24, 2014. U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi narrowly defeated challenger McDaniel on Tuesday in a high-profile runoff election that pitted the Republican Party establishment against the insurgent Tea Party movement.  REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman (UNITED STATES - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS) - RTR3VLLY Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel waves to supporters before delivering a concession speech in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, June 24, 2014. U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi narrowly defeated challenger McDaniel on Tuesday in a high-profile runoff election that pitted the Republican Party establishment against the insurgent Tea Party movement. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman (UNITED STATES - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS) - RTR3VLLY  

Tea Party Leader: McDaniel Should Be Nominee ‘Regardless Of What State Law Says’

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

This post has been updated below.

Somehow I missed this the other day, but Tea Party Patriots leader Jenny Beth Martin has issued a stunning statement, which, according to Breitbart, involves calling on RNC chairman Reince Priebus “to intervene in the Mississippi Senate race over incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran’s reliance on Democratic voters…”

But here’s the interesting part: Martin’s stated concern isn’t that Democrats who were ineligible to vote (due to having voted in the Democratic primary) helped propel Thad Cochran to a victory, but that even the completely legal votes (according to Mississippi’s open primary and run-off system) should be nullified.

Here’s an excerpt from her statement:

… Chris McDaniel won more votes from actual Republicans than did Cochran. Thus, only a fool would dispute that McDaniel is the clear choice of Republicans in MS. He is, by all rights, the Republican nominee, regardless of what state law states. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus should address this. As Chairman of the national party, he has overall responsibility for the selection of GOP nominees across the country.” [Bold mine]

Regardless of what the law states???

So there goes the rule of law, I suppose.

The other obvious irony here is that Martin wants the evil RNC establishment to override Mississippi law.

What about respecting state sovereignty? What about letting the states decide?? I guess that only applies when you want it to, eh?

This is a prime example of how inconsistent, and, indeed, philosophically unconservative so many of the self-appointed tea party leaders have become.

If you like relying situational ethics — and the politics of aggrieved victimhood — then I guess Martin’s for you!

UPDATE: Bill Pascoe of the Tea Party Patriots emails this below:

Perhaps you’re not aware of Rule 11 of the Rules of the Republican National Committee, which states in whole:

RULE NO. 11
Candidate Support

(a) The Republican National Committee
shall not, without the prior written and filed approval
of all members of the Republican National Committee
from the state involved, contribute money or in-kind
aid to any candidate for any public or party office of
that state except the nominee of the Republican Party
or a candidate who is unopposed in the Republican
primary after the filing deadline for that office. In
those states where state law establishes a non-partisan
primary in which Republican candidates could
participate, but in which the general election may not
include a Republican candidate, the candidate
endorsed by a convention held under the authority of
the state Republican Party shall be recognized by the
Republican National Committee as the Republican
nominee.

(b) No state Republican Party rule or state
law shall be observed that allows persons who have
participated or are participating in the selection of any
nominee of a party other than the Republican Party,
including, but not limited to, through the use of a
multi-party primary or similar type ballot, to
participate in the selection of a nominee of the
Republican Party for that general election. No person
nominated in violation of this rule shall be recognized
by the Republican National Committee as the nominee
of the Republican Party from that state.

Note the language of paragraph (b), which clearly states that the REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE ITSELF will NOT observe any state law that doesn’t meet its criteria — in this specific case, the RNC will not recognize as the GOP nominee any nominee chosen as the result of a selection process that allows voters who “have participated or are participating in the selection of any nominee of a party other than the Republican Party.”

Mississippi state law, of course, also prohibits this — no voter who voted in the Democratic party primary on June 3 was legally eligible to vote in the June 24 GOP runoff.

The McDaniel campaign is attempting this week to collect evidence from the 82 counties that shows that more than 6,700 Mississippi voters (the margin of victory) actually voted in both elections. If it turns out that their review of the poll books in the 82 counties shows that more than 6,700 voters DID cast ballots in both elections, and a court upholds that finding, there is only one remedy under Mississippi law — a new election. (It happened in the Hattiesburg Mayor’s race last year,  for example.)

So, given that the Rules of the RNC itself declare that the RNC will not recognize a nominee chosen in part by the votes of voters who have participated or are participating in the selection of a nominee from another party, perhaps you should consider apologizing to Jenny Beth for your … impulsive opinion.

To the larger point, Jenny Beth was trying to make a simple declaration — it’s clear beyond dispute that Chris McDaniel is the choice of the Republican voters of Mississippi who chose to cast a ballot in the runoff election. He won the most votes on June 3, and he won the most Republican votes on June 24, and it may turn out that he won the most LEGAL votes on June 24, too.