Some conservatives aren’t happy that their preferred candidate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) lost to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in the runoff of the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Mississippi. Many tea party types are openly speculating foul play and that Democrats and black voters were involved. Take Rush Limbaugh who wondered if Cochran’s campaign slogan in Mississippi over the last few days was “Uncle Toms for Thad.”
“I wonder what the campaign slogan was in Mississippi the past few days, ‘Uncle Toms for Thad’? Because I thought it was the worst thing you could do as an African American, vote for a Republican. The worst thing you could do,” Limbaugh said on Wednesday. “But somehow they were made to believe that voting for old Thad would be fine and dandy. And why? Because they were told Thad’s done a lot for black people in Mississippi. Must be the first time they were told that.”
Cochran’s turnaround victory in the race on Tuesday was immediately met with criticism by McDaniel and tea partiers over his strategy of reaching out to not only Republicans but also Democrats and African-Americans, a move that dismayed tea partiers but isn’t illegal under Mississippi’s open primary laws.
When Cochran was named the winner, McDaniel himself openly questioned the results, and said “there is something a bit strange, there is something a bit unusual about a Republican primary that’s decided by liberal Democrats.”
“Before this race ends we have to be absolutely certain that the Republican primary was won by Republican voters,” McDaniel also said.
But others were more direct and pointed in their criticism of Cochran. Matt Drudge, for instance, posted a link to a New York Times story with the line “Black vote used.” Another link on Drudge said “The flier ‘that got Cochran elected’…” and linked to a National Review blog post on Wednesday reporting that a flyer that had allegedly been circulated in heavily black precincts of Mississippi that was titled: “The Tea Party intends to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday.”
“It’s generally agreed that Thad Cochran squeaked out a win in Mississippi last night in part by getting Democrats, especially African Americans, to turn out,” the post’s author, John Fund, wrote.
Trial balloons that the law had been broken by getting Democrats to vote in the primary were common among conservatives on Wednesday.
If Democrats broke the law when they voted for Cochran, that’s voter fraud and this is in fact a stolen election.
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) June 25, 2014
One conservative Twitter user used the loss to call for more restrictions on voting, and Republican officials in nearby Alabama say they are now calling for closing primaries as a result of Mississippi’s result.
Mississippi Senate race shows we need Voter ID laws in every state. #mssen
— Mr T 2 (@GovtsTheProblem) June 25, 2014
Similarly, Sarah Palin on Wednesday said there should be some kind of investigation of voting behavior because something clearly was fishy.
“When an election is questionable, with potential legal violations, politics MUST be put aside and the irregularities MUST be fully investigated,” Palin wrote on Facebook. “Regardless of party, we owe it to voters and to democracy within our Republic. The integrity of the vote speaks directly to the integrity of those who serve and the trust we ask the American public to put in our institutions.”
Since Cochran won, conservatives have also thrown out the idea of leaving the GOP party all together. Amy Kremer, a conservative political operative who formerly led the Tea Party Express warned that if Cochran won, the GOP would be “done.”
If Cochran wins this #mssen race, the GOP is done. They teamed up with Dems to steal a race. Kiss the base goodbye.
— Amy Kremer (@AmyKremer) June 25, 2014
Redstate’s Erick Erickson’s snap response to Cochran’s loss was to throw out the idea of leaving the GOP and starting a third major political party. Palin made a similar statement.
“Having been an elected Republican and someone who routinely takes the position of supporting conservatives in primaries and Republicans in general elections, the Mississippi race does crystalize for me the desires of many to start a third party,” Erickson wrote. “In essence, tea party activists are the RINOs. A Republican Party campaigning on making the Senate “conservative,” used liberal Democrats to preserve an incumbent Republican and defeat a conservative. The actual conservatives are the outsiders with the GOP establishment doing all it could to preserve its power at the expense of its principles.”
But Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who is often considered a tea party favorite, suggested that such reactions might be overblown. “I’m for more people voting, not less people voting,” Paul told reporters Wednesday, according to the Washington Post.