Former half-term Governor of Alaska and the Republican Party’s 2008 nominee for Vice President Sarah Palin did not have an enjoyable Tuesday night. Two Tea Party Senate candidates she wholeheartedly endorsed lost their primary elections. One candidate, Oklahoma’s TW Shannon, was defeated by 23 points. The other, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel, lost a close runoff election after finishing ahead of his opponent, incumbent Senator Thad Cochran, in the Republican primary weeks before. A runoff was necessary as McDaniel, while coming in first, did not receive 50% of the vote. Cochran won Tuesday night by a slim 7,000-vote margin.
Both McDaniel and Plain are crying foul over the results. Both are taking issue with Cochran appealing to Democratic voters to ‘cross over’ and vote for him in the runoff election. McDaniel has not conceded and has vowed that he will challenge the results of the election and take this to court. Palin has urged McDaniel to do so and went to her favorite media platform, Facebook, to offer McDaniel her support. Late Wednesday morning, the ex-mayor of Wasilla posted the following to her Facebook page.
With Friends Like These, Who Needs Liberals?
As we pointed out last week (see: http://t.co/y8T64iZQyR), there were several potentially illegal political games afoot in Mississippi to motivate Democrat voters to “switch” over to the GOP for a day to help save a 42 year Republican member of Congress. On top of that, millions of dollars from out of state liberal billionaires like Mike Bloomberg poured in at the last minute on that same incumbent’s behalf. You have to ask yourself why? When a primary election is lost fairly, I am all for unifying behind the victor and joining forces to fight in November. When an election is questionable, with potential legal violations, politics MUST be put aside and the irregularities MUST be fully investigated. Regardless of party, we owe it to voters and to democracy within our Republic. The integrity of the vote speaks directly to the integrity of those who serve and the trust we ask the American public to put in our institutions. I told Chris McDaniel last night that I stand with his effort to get to the bottom of this – he needs to know average, but tremendously concerned, citizens want to make sure the integrity of last night’s results in Mississippi are verified. Voting shenanigans never cease to amaze, but they had better cease altogether for the sake of ethical elections. And any GOP “architect” behind these abhorrent voting shenanigans should be ashamed of this Pyrrhic victory for the establishment. If we find out it’s true that some of the characters alleged to have masterminded this Mississippi hijacking are the same ones who’ve tried to destroy other Republicans’ careers, they need to be taken to task and only be hired by unethical campaigns. Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, shame on us. And if any news organization ignores a free and fair elections issue like this, then whether left-leaning or center right, their silence will speak volumes.
You can read more about this issue from an article last week here:
– Sarah Palin
First off, I want to assure you that there is not a formatting error with the above quoted excerpt. That is indeed one long run-on paragraph. Just like any Palin screed, she doesn’t really know what she’s talking about, but it isn’t going to stop her from babbling. She complains that there were “several illegal political games afoot” and that this all needs to be investigated immediately. However, this is all just sour grapes and it doesn’t matter how much she whines about it, because nothing is going to change the outcome.
The fact is, Mississippi has a mixed primary election process. Voters do not register with any particular political party. During the primary, they can vote in whichever political party’s primary they choose when they get to the voting booth. Obviously, they can’t vote twice, once for the Republican primary and another time for a Democratic primary. However, in this instance, there was a runoff election only for the Republican primary. Essentially, based on the Mississippi system, anyone who wanted to cast a vote in this election was able to do so.
There is a caveat. Per Mississippi’s election laws, a person who votes for a particular nominee during a primary must honor that vote come the general election. However, all that states is that anyone who voted for Cochran must vote for him in November, if they vote at all. A vote for another candidate will not be valid. (How is this even enforceable? No one can say.) If the main complaint from Palin and McDaniel is that Democratic voters voted in this primary and cost McDaniel the election, they really have no recourse to fight this. They can’t sit around and wait until November to see if certain voters change their mind and vote for another candidate besides Cochran. (Once again, how can they even prove this.) If that were the case, then Mississippi could not validate any primary election results.
Perhaps one can make a point that the strategy to attract Democratic voters to the polls on Tuesday by Cochran’s campaign was unethical and low. That is fine. That’s politics. But you can’t whine that it is illegal. Because, it just isn’t. Mississippi’s election laws are just vague enough to allow this to happen without any repercussions. By not having party registration and allowing more of an honor system in regards to the general election, McDaniel’s campaign really has nowhere to go with this other than to stomp their feet, hold their breath and complain. Cochran gamed the system. Plain and simple. And no amount of screeching and wailing from Sarah Palin is going to change the results of Tuesday night.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).