Next week the Mississippi Supreme Court is set to hear Chris McDaniel’s appeal to his recently dismissed US Senate election challenge.
McDaniel and his legal team continue to believe they did not file late given the election reforms passed by the Legislature in the years since the Mississippi Supreme Court issued its ruling in the 1959 Kellum case, the precedent Judge Hollis McGehee referenced as his basis for dismissing the challenge.
The latest news is that the Alabama-based Conservative Action Fund led by Shaun McCutcheon was granted a seat at the table by the Supreme Court allowing this out-of-state group to participate in oral arguments on behalf of McDaniel.
The three year old Conservative Action Fund is a Super PAC primarily funded by McCutcheon himself.
McCutcheon’s CAF states in its filing to support McDaniel: “This Court should not extend its ruling in Kellum v. Johnson…because the Elections Clause of the US Constitution…grants exclusive power to regulate federal elections specifically to state legislatures.”
Essentially, CAF wants the court to dismiss its own precedent and look at the timeline for filing a challenge as not defined specifically by the Legislature.
CAF goes on to say, “If this Court concludes that it would be appropriate to hold a new runoff primary election…but that there is insufficient time before the general election, it may order that the general election for US Senate be postponed past Election Day.”
While this argument is ultimately what the most rabid McDaniel supporters would like to see, it is highly doubtful that the Supreme Court will venture this far.
Additionally, I’m not convinced McDaniel and his team would see as much support in a new runoff as they believe. Their 180,000 voters have frayed significantly due to how the McTeam has handled themselves post-runoff while pursuing this challenge.
McCutcheon is best known in political circles as the namesake of the US Supreme Court case which struck down the federal aggregate contribution limit for individuals donating to federal candidates.
Since 2011, McCutcheon, the Tea Party activist and engineer, has involved himself and his CAF Super PAC in a number of races, not just Mississippi.
Who could forget the New York congressional ad in the race to replace Anthony Weiner featuring a surfing rabbi. Surfing Rabbi Says!
Here in Mississippi McCutcheon is busy raising money and spouting the same tired rhetoric of McDaniel, claiming there were “sketchy and ineligible votes.”
In his latest email McCutcheon begs four times for a donation of $17.76, $25 or more, saying he needs $15,000 to cover the cost of the challenge while claiming Thad Cochran “stole” the runoff using his “bag of dirty tricks.”
According to opensecrets.org, CAF raised $301,275 in 2012 with McCutcheon donating $292,600 of the total.
In its 2014 filing, McCutcheon donated $9,500 of the $11,153 raised. The Super PAC spent $9,696 with $2,500 going to Auburn Conservatives for Tomorrow, $2,100 to National Bloggers Club (Google its history for fun reading), $1,300 to Political Media, and $2,250 to DB Capitol Strategies (a DC legal and campaign finance firm).