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Unfortunately for hundreds of Northeast Jackson voters, McDaniel staffer Haley Winningham knowingly signed an affidavit accusing several hundred of crossover voting (p97) in spite of clear evidence that many of the “crossover votes” cited were in fact not crossovers but rather easily explained clerical errors. Though Winningham’s affidavit was signed on August 4, a story about the Fondren Presbyterian precinct came out immediately after the runoff documenting a clerical error by poll workers. In a precinct that only had 37 democrat votes on the June 3 primary, Winningham alleges approximately 200 people from that precinct “are also crossover voters who voted Democrat on June 3 and Republican on June 24.” That’s mathematically impossible. Undeterred by the facts and (non-common core) math, Ms. Winningham knowingly threw the baby out with the bathwater and claimed that “the strike out marks (on poll books) are unexplained” when clearly that wasn’t the case.
But the real story of the day is our boy and communications director extraordinaire Noel Fritsch. It has now been reported by both WJTV and Sam Hall at the Clarion Ledger that Fielder has fingered Noel Fritsch as playing a role in making payments to “Rev.” Stevie Fielder of Meridian. Fritsch denied the claim to the Clarion Ledger and wouldn’t answer questions about reports that he played a role in trying to help raise the funds that eventually made their way to Fielder. He told WJTV, “I’m pointing you to Charles Johnson who admits to having paid for Rev. Fielder’s emails.” Not exactly a robust denial. But . . .
In the interview with Fielder, at about the 16:14 mark, Johnson asks Fielder if he has a photograph of the Cochran staffer accused of asking the Meridian man to pay for votes. Fielder says he can get one. Gilbert then says, “OK. If you can forward that or email that to us or to Noel, we’d like to get that.”
So it appears that Johnson (in the interview) and Fielder (in his conversations with the Attorney General) both acknowledged that Fritsch at least knew of and played some part in the original Fielder interview. For his part, Chuck Johnson continues to say he paid Fielder (apparently to lie) . . .
I find it a touch ridiculous that I am openly & repeatedly saying that I paid Rev. Fielder cash 4 his text messages but media lies. #mssen
— Charles C. Johnson (@ChuckCJohnson) August 6, 2014
But out of all things, one of the following things is necessarily true. Either Noel Fritsch is lying through his teeth or Stevie Fielder is. And the truth is that both could actually be true. Yet even as late as last night, Fritsch was doubling down on Fielder telling the Clarion Ledger that Fielder’s texts “prove Cochran bought Democrat votes.”
In light of these revelations, we here at Y’allPolitics think we speak for the entire state of Mississippi, when we say “Holy Fucking Shit . . . did we get lucky.”
Folks, it’s hard to describe what a bullet Mississippi seems to have dodged by defeating Chris McDaniel. McDaniel’s challenge has been likened to a football team (who are all academically ineligible and on steroids) trying to kick the winning field goal after that other team has been declared the winner and the fans have emptied the stands.
Think about this for a moment.
Would a US Senator trot out Reverend Fielder as evidence for anything?
Would a US Senator have a communications director that had a role in making payments of someone to blatently lie about buying votes?
Would a US Senator quote random Facebook posts as evidence for a court proceeding?
Would a US Senator do a regression analysis based on a poll from a pollster (on the payroll of the opponent from the other party) against a listing of counties with black populations over 69% to ask to overturn the results of a statewide election?
Would a US Senator have a campaign manager that refuses to file campaign finance reports?
Would a US Senator list the Secretary of State of Mississippi (Delbert Hosemann) as a bad absentee ballot (Page 90)? Think about that for a second. The man who is in charge of elections in this state is being personally accused of improperly voting absentee. Would a US Senator act like he’s been acting?
Think about the small band of people that McDaniel had placed around him that came a hair’s width from having unfettered access to a United States Senate seat. In hindsight, it’s completely unsettling.
The problem to this challenge business is that the only cost that McDaniel appears to impute in this challenge business is a financial one. In other words, the only cost to this madness is just how much the lawyers cost for him.
However, it is now McDaniel’s support system and those in his immediate orbit that must now also be held accountable for McDaniel’s behavior. By reputation, if not also financially, McDaniel appears to derive a great deal of legitimacy and breathing room by virtue of his law firm partnership at Hortman Harlow. The damage that a named partner of a law firm suing circuit clerks around the state and accusing other clerks and statewide elected officials of outright impropriety has got to scare the pants off of the clients of that law firm. Their clients may never get a fair shake in another courthouse in Mississippi ever again. If the law firm partners got the very clear picture that a pox would be put on their house and that their choices were to encourage McDaniel to choose what’s in the best interest of his legal career (and that of the firm’s clients) or his political one, this challenge foolishness would likely end in a day. And at this point, it would not be at all surprising to see former staffers and supporters come out publicly against McDaniel. There are certainly rumblings to that effect.
This challenge foolishness should end, but it’s clear now that it won’t anytime soon. Even after a judge dismisses this from a courtroom, there doesn’t seem to be much indication that McDaniel, who ran as a Republican, will endorse Cochran as the nominee. In fact, the Wall Street Journal is conjecturing that now that the Senate Conservatives Fund is back in play for McDaniel that he will be basically used as an anti-establishment stalking horse or just a media pawn to move establishment candidates to the right.
A price should be paid for all of this foolishness by McDaniel and everyone that directly or indirectly gives him aid or support. The question now is, will party leaders and people throughout Mississippi have the fortitude to make McDaniel and those that help him pay that price.
That’s the way it was – Day 42 of the McDaniel Hostage Crisis.
Good day Mississippi – and good luck.