As he challenges the results of Mississippi’s Republican Senate run-off, Chris McDaniel is arguing that election officials should reject the vote of Sen. Thad Cochran’s press secretary.
McDaniel’s 243-page formal challenge of Cochran’s victory in June 24’s Republican Senate primary, released Monday, lists the names of thousands whose votes should be thrown out. Cochran aide Jordan Russell is included in the list of improper votes.
Specifically, it requests that Russell’s vote be invalidated because there was “no reason given for voting absentee.”
Russell is Cochran’s top spokesman and is routinely quoted in the press.
In a phone interview with The Daily Caller, Russell said: “This whole thing would be amusing if it wasn’t a serious Senate election, but the level of absurdity here seems to reach new heights every day.”
“I voted absentee in Lafayette County, where I’m registered to vote, the same day Sen. Cochran did,” Russell said. “The Saturday before the election.”
“The circuit clerk asked me why I wasn’t going to be in the county on election day and I said because I’m going to be with him,” Russell said of Cochran. “They gave me my ballot. And I filled it out.”
On Monday, McDaniel and his attorneys held a press conference arguing that there were at least 15,000 questionable votes cast in the election. (RELATED: McDaniel Formally Challenges Cochran’s Win)
McDaniel’s lead attorney Mitch Tyner said the campaign has found evidence of 3,500 crossover votes — Democrats who were ineligible to vote in the Republican run-off because they had previously voted in the Democratic primary.
Tyner also claimed to have found another 9,500 irregular votes and 2,275 absentee votes improperly cast in the run-off. Cochran won 7,667 more votes than McDaniel in the run-off.
Russell, according to the document, voted in the “Oxford 2 Precinct.” The document also called for the rejection of other absentee votes for a variety of reasons, including voters not putting a date on the application, not having a notary seal the envelope, and not having handwriting signatures that match.
“Illegal votes cast by absentee ballot were likewise included in the final count, because county election officials did not follow lawful procedure,” the formal challenge notes.
The document alleges that the “election was marred by irregularities and fraud” and “invalid and illegal votes were included in certifications by County executive committees.”
McDaniel is asking the state Republican executive committee to overturn the results of the run-off and declare him the victor.
“They asked us to put up or shut up,” McDaniel said at a Monday news conference outside his attorney’s office. “Here we are. Here we are with the evidence.”
“Once the state executive committee has had an opportunity to go through the evidence that we have included in this challenge, then they will see that they have no choice but to recognize Chris McDaniel as the nominee of the Republican Party for the state of Mississippi for the United States Senate,” McDaniel attorney Mitch Tyner said Monday.
McDaniel’s campaign did not immediately comment Tuesday.
An excerpt from the challenge, including Russell’s name: