“The guy is basically Joel Osteen,” the source said of McDaniel in a phone interview Wednesday morning. “He’s such a phony, and he’s taking advantage of these people to stay in the spotlight. This is such a publicity stunt. He can’t stand the fact that he lost.”
McDaniel, who is a state senator, surprised many local and national political observers when he refused to concede in a blistering, election-night speech last Tuesday. More were surprised McDaniel, who many view as having a bright political future in Mississippi and potentially beyond the state’s borders, is mounting this challenge amid the risk of losing support of the national Republican Party.
Official results after last week’s election showed McDaniel lost to Cochran by 1.6 percentage points last week. But McDaniel, who won a plurality of votes in the initial primary prior on June 3, has contended Cochran ultimately came out ahead after courting Democratic and African-American votes — suggesting everything from illegal vote-buying schemes to illegitimate voter targeting.
Mississippi election law, which mandates runoffs between the top two votegetters if no candidate in a primary earns over 50% of the vote, bars people from voting in one party’s primary and then crossing over to vote in another party’s runoff. Though there are few procedures to enforce this, the law says only people who voted in the Republican primary or didn’t vote at all were eligible to vote in the June 24 runoff.
Though he has produced no hard evidence thus far, McDaniel has argued Cochran took advantage of the lax enforcement and encouraged Democrats, whether they voted in their own primary or not, to enter the GOP fray and deliver his slim margin of victory.
The Cochran campaign source attributed these concerns to McDaniel being what they described as “the sorest loser I’ve ever seen.”
“What he’s mad about is the fact that he got outsmarted and outworked,” the source added. “What happened is, he’s been doing a victory lap since June 3, and he thought he was going to be coronated. We went back to work. We kicked his ass, and he’s mad about it. He’s the sorest loser I’ve ever seen.”