- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Mississippi judge has delivered a blow to a tea party-backed candidate, dismissing an election challenge to Sen. Thad Cochran on grounds that he encouraged voter fraud.

U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel argued that Democrats who voted in their June 3 primary may have gone back to the polls June 24 to affect the Republican primary, with the encouragement of the Cochran campaign.

State law lets people vote in either party’s primary, regardless of stated partisan affiliation. But if someone voted in one party’s primary, he cannot legally vote in another’s primary runoff.

However, State Judge Hollis McGehee tossed the challenge Friday because Mr. McDaniel failed to file for an election challenge on time, according to the multiple wire services and Mississippi newspapers.

“The undisputed facts are that McDaniel filed his complaint 41 days after the date of the election,” Judge McGehee said, speaking from a Gulfport courthouse, Reuters reported. “The law requires it to be done within 20 days.”

Mr. McDaniel may consider an appeal, according to campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch.

“We certainly respect the legal process, but we absolutely disagree on this point of law. We are going to take the weekend to take stock and see whether it’s prudent to elevate this to the next level. We’ll announce something Tuesday, probably in a press conference,” Mr. Fritsch said.

Mr. Cochran’s campaign told reporters that the challenge is without merit and that Mr. Cochran is now focused on the general election.