The Mississippi Republican primary for U.S. Senate between Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) looks like it is headed to a runoff election in three weeks.
Neither Cochran or McDaniel was able to break the 50 percent threshold needed to lock in the nomination. But after midnight McDaniel had a tiny lead over Cochran (less than one percent).
McDaniel himself said at his election night party that he did not expect an official result of the primary to come Tuesday night.
“This is a historic moment in this state’s history. And because of your hard work, your dedication we sit here tonight leading a 42-year incumbent,” McDaniel said to cheers from the crowd. “But our fight is not over.”
He added “whether it’s tomorrow, whether it’s three weeks from tonight we will stand victorious in this race.”
“Let it be known that Mississippians stood tall tonight. We are not the type of people that surrender or retreat. And rest assured DC, we never will.”
Meanwhile, Cochran reportedly skipped taking the stage at his election night party.
Democrats, meanwhile, seemed to be watching the outcome of the primary with anticipation. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the runoff showed how far the tea party had pulled the Republican party to the right.
“In race after race, Republican candidates have been pulled so far to the right by the Tea Party that it is a distinction without a difference,” Wasserman Schultz said in a statement. “The likely runoff in Mississippi caused by Tea Party candidate Chris McDaniel shows that the GOP is the Same Old Party, which has failed to learn its lessons from recent elections. Come November, voters will reject a Republican Party which opposes an increase in the minimum wage for hard working Americans, has blocked equal pay for women, and is obsessed with repealing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for millions of Americans.”
If there is a runoff, it will be held on June 24.