The Mississippi Republican Senate Primary runoff election between State Senator Chris McDaniel and 42-year incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran illustrates that the Republican establishment will seek to win at any cost. Cochran edged out his challenger 50.8% to 49.2% separated by 6,300 votes out of 375,000 cast.
Even if it means losing their own base in the process.
One number that you need to remember with this race. 54,000. There were 54,000 more people who voted in the runoff election than voted in the Mississippi Republican primary. And there were reports of Democrats being paid to vote for Cochran in the run-off election. Democratic voters can cross-party lines to vote in the runoff election if they did not vote in the Democratic primary. McDaniels had a 6 point lead in polls leading up to yesterday’s election.
And it appears that strategy worked as Breitbart News reported:
Election results indicate Cochran’s late appeal to Democratic voters paid off, with the incumbent senator picking up sizable vote totals in precincts with heavily black populations. Partisanship in Mississippi is largely polarized on racial lines, and Cochran allies paid key Democratic operatives to help turn out the vote.
Due to this McDaniel may be considering a legal challenge and gave a “non-concession” concession speech last night:
So much for bold colors. So much for principle. I guess they can take some consolation in the fact that they did something tonight by once again compromising, by once again reaching across the aisle, by once again abandoning the conservative movement. I would like to know which part of that strategy today our Republican friends endorse. I would like to know which part of that strategy today our statewide officials endorse. This is not the party of Reagan, but we’re not done fighting and when we’re done it will be.
John Fund at National Review pointed out that the flyer below is what tipped the scales (Pollster Rick Shaftan disagrees see comment below).
Then there is this roboball targeting black voters in Mississippi:
The time has come to take a stand and say no to the tea party. No to their obstruction. No to their disrespectful treatment of the first African-American president. If we do nothing, tea party candidate Chris McDaniel wins and causes even more problems for President Obama. With your help we can stop this. Please commit to voting against tea party candidate Chris McDaniel next Tuesday and say ‘no’ to the tea party!
Steve Deace writing at the Washington Times points out the impact of this smear tactic used by the Cochran campaign:
Turnout in the runoff was up more than 54,000 votes from the primary, and Cochran got the majority of those voters. Guess where many of those voters came from?
In Jefferson County, which has the highest per capita black population of any county in the country, turnout was up 94 percent from the primary. You read that right — 94 percent. Cochran got the overwhelming majority of that increase.
A similar pattern repeats itself in numerous predominantly black counties across Mississippi. Take Holmes County, which voted 84 percent for Obama in 2012. Turnout in that county was up more than 40 percent from the primary and Cochran won there handily.
GOP pollster Rick Shaftan told me Cochran gained an additional 10,584 votes in the runoff from Mississippi counties where Obama got at least two-thirds of the vote in 2012. Turnout statewide was up 43 percent in counties where Obama got at least two-thirds of the vote in 2012.
On the other hand, McDaniel destroyed Cochran in DeSoto County, perhaps the most Republican county in the state, where he received about 70 percent of the vote. Nonetheless McDaniel still lost an excruciatingly close election.
Numbers never lie. The GOP establishment mobilized Democrats to cross over in Mississippi’s open primary to save Cochran.
No the numbers do not lie, and the establishment won this race in a shameful manner.