POLITICO’S Senate-race rankings — Mississippi enters second post-runoff week

MISSISSIPPI: THE SOUND AND THE FURY — Across the U.S. this weekend, Americans came together to celebrate at barbecues, fireworks shows and sporting events. Except in Mississippi, where resentment and bitterness continue to reign, nearly two weeks after Sen. Thad Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the GOP Senate runoff. Some Republicans hoped Cochran’s win would put the Magnolia State away, but a potential legal fight — with all the unflattering headlines — looms large.

–The latest: McDaniel appeared on CNN on the Fourth, telling host Kate Bolduan that he plans to file a legal challenge “any day now.” “Right now, we have found we have found more than 5,000 irregularities. There are more than 19,000 absentee ballots we still haven’t seen yet,” McDaniel told CNN. http://cnn.it/1t5P1Ga

— The defiance: McDaniel told a crowd of roughly 100 supporters at the state capitol on Saturday “that he was continuing his efforts to expose ‘lies’ and ‘distortions’ that the Cochran campaign used to drive black voters to the polls to vote for Cochran,” according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “There’s no way we will abandon this cause,” McDaniel said. “We will not leave our friends on the field of battle. Because when we’re done with this, the people of Mississippi will have their justice. They’ll have their honor. And the people of this country will finally have some answers.” http://on.thec-l.com/1mYKTP9

— The ugliness: The McDaniel campaign isn’t backing down from the barricades. His campaign manager, fellow state Sen. Melanie Sojourner, wrote on Facebook on the Fourth: “For me to ever endorse Cochran would be to say that I can accept or find it ok the tactics he used.” http://bzfd.it/1xDm0R2

— The outside help: Senate Conservatives Fund is among the groups helping McDaniel raise funds for a potential legal fight. As of early this morning, they’d raised about $80,000, shy of their $100,000 goal. http://goo.gl/C9rNAh

— The backlash: Geoff Pender, the Clarion-Ledger’s political editor, urged McDaniel in Sunday’s paper to present his evidence, or give up the fight: “The commonwealth needs resolution and closure to this epic goat rodeo. It doesn’t need weeks or months more of mudslinging or being a national laughingstock. … With claims of race baiting, vote buying, voter intimidation and the potential for federal authorities to have to step in on a state election, it appears Mississippi has taken a leap back 50 years with the 2014 GOP primary.” http://on.thec-l.com/1j7kGmt