WASHINGTON, June 3, 2014 (9:22pm EDT) — The 2014 Republican primary in Mississippi is still undecided. The contest has displayed little of the valor Mississippi’s official motto, Virtute et Armis, by valor and arms.
The Tea (Taxed Enough Already) Party has made Mississippi a battle ground state in their efforts to unseat GOP stalwarts. Sen. Thad Cochran is the 74-year-old incumbent seeking a seventh term. The challenger is the youthful Chris McDaniel, a conservative who has become one of the faces of the future of the GOP.
McDaniel has served as a member of the Mississippi Senate since 2008, representing the 42nd district. If he wins, he would join Tea Party-backed Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Mike Lee of Utah. A win by McDaniels is said to be a final nail in the coffin of an old, tired and out-of-date GOP.
McDaniel has a Mississippi pedigree, including graduating cum laude from the University of Mississippi School of Law. Photos of the Senator with his young children and wife are a stark contrast to the white haired Cochran.
Cochran has the backing of former Governor Haley Barbour, another elder of the GOP at 66. McDaniel has brought out more youthful voices, like Governor Sarah Palin, who are speaking to the part of the conservative movement that is seeking change to a party that seems to have lost touch with younger, minority and female voters.
Both candidates are conservative, one representing business as usual, one promising change.
The fight has been fraught with claims of voter fraud. Tonight’s primary is the first time Mississippi has used new voter ID laws, and reports are that there have been few problems. This contest could help decide the fate of future state voter ID laws.
Mississippi voters can present a drivers license or other ID, including an ID issued by a branch, department or entity of the State of Mississippi, a U.S. passport, government employee ID card, firearms license, student, military or tribal photo ID, or a Mississippi voter ID card.
Polls closed at 8:00pm (EDT) and early reports show Cochran leading with 3 percent of precincts reporting, hardly a statistical landslide.
At 8:13pm, 6 percent of votes are in an reports are Cochran 52 percent to McDaniels 46 percent.
8:26pm it is announced that Travis Childers has won the Democratic Senate race and will face either Cochran or McDaniel in November.
8:40pm Reports are that McDaniel has closed the gap, edging in front of Cochran 49.7 percent to 48.7 percent.
9:37pm, WAPT reports that McDaniel (36,083 votes) and Cochran (35,972) are in a tie at 49 percent of the votes each. Challenger Thomas Carey taking 2 percent of the vote.
9:40pm A race of inches, Cochran has edged ahead to 50 percent v McDaniel with 49 percent.
Mississippi Sayings: “You ain’t got the sense God gave a piss ant” (from WAPT Facebook fans)
At 9:48pm, 38 percent (696 out of 1832) of all precincts have reported.
Diana Bash, CNN, reports from Mississippi that the race is closer, at 48 percent, and that the state law is that if neither candidates takes at least 50 percent of the vote, there will be a runoff between the two candidates. Gloria Bolger, CNN, reports that holding this seat for Republicans is vital.
9:40pm has Cochran leading 51 percent to McDaniel’s 47 percent and a vote difference of some 4000 votes, with 43 percent of all precincts reporting.
Mississippi sayings: “I’m going to slap you naked and hide your clothes”
9:52pm Cochran is holding his scant lead, with 45 percent of all precincts reporting however the number of votes between them has reduced to 3,250.
9:58pm I have never seen a race like this. Cochran is down to 50 percent to McDaniel 48 percent with a vote difference of 2,974
10:01pm News Channel 12/WJTV reports the vote spread in Cochran’s favor at 3,238.
10:07pm Channel 16 WAPT reports with 60 percent of all precincts reporting, Cochran has gained 51 percent of all votes to McDaniel’s 48 percent with a spread of 5,094.
10:17pm Politico.com reports that with 66.5 percent reporting that Cochran retains a lead of 50.3 percent to McDanie’s 48 percent; however the spread has reduced to 4,309 as challenger Carey’s impact lessens.
Mississippi sayings: Nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
10:34pm. WAPT News shows the spread at 50 to 49 percent, with McDaniel in the lead.
10:37pm Politico.com shows McDaniel leading 49.6 percent to 48.8 percent with 76.8 percent of all precincts reporting and a spread of 1,959 votes. CNN is also reporting that McDaniel has taken a slight edge.
10:44pm With 80.6 percent reporting, McDaniel has 50.2 percent of the vote to Cochran’s 48.3 percent and a point spread in McDaniel’s favor of 4,720.
10:56pm With 85 percent reporting, McDaniel holds a lead at 50 percent versus Cochran’s 48.4 percent and with a spread of 4,100 votes.
11:01pm CNN reporting that McDaniel is ahead by a slight margin. Diana Bash is reporting that there will be a runoff in three weeks.
11:28pm McDaniel retains a tissue paper thin lead at 49.7 percent to 48.7 percent and 3,085 vote difference.
11:36pm McDaniel, with 93.1 percent of the precincts report, retains a 1 percent lead with a spread of 3,086 votes.
We will provide updates on this important race as new information is available.