Analysis: Did McDaniel win by losing Senate race?

We won’t concede this race yet or say that Senator McDaniel lost but the analysis here is interesting and true in many respects. – MCD

Did McDaniel win by losing Senate race?

By Emily Wagner Pettus, AP, September 21, 2014

It’s been nearly three months since Chris McDaniel lost the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, and he still hasn’t conceded. Now, it’s worth considering whether McDaniel, a state senator and TEA Party favorite from Jones County, is pursuing a long-term political strategy of winning by losing.

Certified results show six-term Sen. Thad Cochran defeated McDaniel by 7,667 votes in the June 24 primary runoff.

McDaniel is enmeshed in a legal battle trying to overturn Cochran’s victory by claiming the runoff was tainted because Cochran reached out to voters who traditionally support Democrats. Mississippi doesn’t register voters by party, and McDaniel’s odds of success are slim, based on the substantial burden of proving his claim the primary was so shoddily run the results are invalid. McDaniel wants a judge to either declare him the victor or order a new runoff.

Facebook and Twitter remain abuzz with McDaniel supporters urging him to “Fight, Chris, fight.” Some suggest his TEA Party supporters should break away from the Republican fold and form their own “McGOP.”

McDaniel’s never-surrender attitude is clearly wearing thin among many Mississippians, even some who say they voted for him. He might have torpedoed his own political future by making himself look like a sore loser.

On the other hand, McDaniel might be strengthening his political prospects by positioning himself as an advocate for conservatives who feel ignored by the Republican establishment. And that might provide momentum for McDaniel and his allies leading into 2015, when Mississippi elects a slate of statewide officials, from governor to agriculture commissioner.

McDaniel was backed by millions of dollars from outside groups that consider Cochran insufficiently conservative. However, neither McDaniel nor any other TEA Party-supported challenger can reasonably expect to receive that level of out-of-state financial support for a state election in Mississippi, where Republicans hold seven of eight statewide offices and a majority in both legislative chambers. The big spending happened in the U.S. Senate race because groups such as FreedomWorks and Club for Growth saw a chance to affect federal policy. Both backed McDaniel.

McDaniel filed a lawsuit Aug. 14 challenging Cochran’s victory in the primary. Cochran’s attorneys argued McDaniel waited too long to file the lawsuit. They cited a Mississippi Supreme Court ruling from a 1959 election dispute that said state law specified a 20-day deadline for challenging results of a multicounty or statewide election.

Judge Hollis McGehee dismissed the lawsuit Aug. 29, ruling McDaniel waited too long to file. McDaniel appealed McGehee’s ruling to the Mississippi Supreme Court, and justices will hear oral arguments from attorneys for McDaniel and Cochran on Oct. 2 — one month and two days before the Nov. 4 general election.

Justices say they’ll handle the appeal quickly, but state law allows them to order a new party primary runoff even after the general election.

There’s no legal requirement for a losing candidate to make a concession speech, either on election night or at any other time. The process moves relentlessly forward, driven by deadlines to certify party primary results and prepare for the general election.

State officials have set a November Senate ballot that lists Cochran as the Republican nominee, former U.S. Rep. Travis Childers as the Democrat nominee and Shawn O’Hara as the Reform Party’s candidate.

McDaniel is pushing the boundaries of the widely held belief that in politics, any kind of attention is better than no attention at all. But here’s his victory: People are still talking about him, for better or worse. And they wouldn’t be doing that if he had conceded on election night or soon thereafter.



  1. William Smith says:

    I read this when it was first published and then, as now, think it does not reflect on McDaniel. It’s a big roll of the dice to engage in all this acrimony on the possibility of coming back strong next year. It could happen, but personally I am doubtful. The so-called establisment is going to stay made at him and much of the public is going have a lingering bad taste in its mouth because of the way he has conducted himself since the second primary. His diehard supportters who are convinced he was lied about and the election was stolen from him will be there, but I am doubtful there are enought of them to catapult him to statewide office.

    • I’m inclined to agree with William. Since MCD and the McGOPers like to engage in “Chrisology”, try this one. First, forget about mainstream Mississippi conservatives supporting The Anointed One for any statewide office. Second, now that The Anointed One has rubbed elbows with Sarah Palin, Chris Chocola, Matt Kibbe. and other members of the Tea Party elite and has proven himself to be a worthy campaigner, crowd pleaser and fund
      raiser among folks in the Deep South, I suspect that the State of Mississippi will be too confining for him. I suspect that he will either hook up with one of the Tea Party groups, or perhaps even go out on his own with the idea of traveling around the South, carrying his “message” from townhall meeting to townhall meeting. After all, even though he has burned more bridges in
      Mississippi than Sherman did in Georgia no one can take anything away from his ability to stir up a crowd and get them to part from their money. He has a unique ability to connect through empathy with his crowd of listeners–much in the same way as Sarah, or Bill Clinton does. Running for AG is an interesting idea, but do we really want someone with his messiah complex and serious narcissistic personality disorder serving as the State’s chief law
      enforcement officer? If he were to become AG, it would not be long before an “Enemy’s List” would begin to be created.

  2. You both are forgetting this one fact: More Republicans voted for McDaniel than Cochran. If that doesn’t tell you where the heart of the MS voter lies I don’t know what does. The “establishment” is being led by the nose by Barbour and this is the same thinking that brought us Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney. Another fact: Either of those three candidates would have won if Conservatives across the country believed in them. Barbour is lining up to cash in on the proposed changes to emission regulations while hog-tying up every GOP office holder to see things his way or the highway….right down to picking Cochran’s successor.

  3. William Smith says:

    The point remains: You have no way of knowing who Republican voters are or how they voted – because there is no party registration. You are basing your assertion on post-election polling. The election was legal under state law. The result is that in the Republican primary run-off more voters voted for Cochran than McDaniel.

    • Keep spinning Smith. We don’t need party registration to identify where there are huge concentrations of black Democrats in Jackson. A detailed review of Jackson’s black Democratic precincts proves you emphatically wrong. You spin and obfuscate because you either know the lies behind the “truths’ you dutifully parrot or you are willfully ignorant.

      • William Smith says:

        So are you racial profiling there Jack?

      • Or maybe the majority of the 50,000 additional voters in the June 24th run-off were Republicans who did not vote on June 3, but were awakened from their civic slumber in fear that The Anointed One might get elected and encourage state leaders to reinstate Traditional Mississippi Values.

      • A truly sophmoric but understandable response Smith since the actual precinct numbers in Jackson refute your mindless parroting.

      • William Smith says:

        Jack, you still did not answer my quesion. Are you engaging in racial profiling? “Concentations of black Democrats.” That’s your language, not mine.

      • Smith, I don’t respond to stupid questions. Your’s is a stupid sophmoric question. But understandable coming from you.

      • William Smith says:

        Jack, you continue to give away your insecurity and lack of confidence. I’ve been called ignorant and worse by bigger and better men than you, though usually I find that when people have to resort to that kind of stuff it is because they don’t have anything argument to make.

    • William Smith says:

      Jack, usually using insults and labelling questions you don’t want to answer is a strong sign of insecurity. “Concentrations of black Democrats” is in fact a racist statement. If you just meant to say “Democrats” you could have said that very well without any reference to race. Then you want to cry foul about race-bating by the Cochran campaign.

      • Your problem Smith is that I never claimed the Cochran campaign was race-baiting. If my identification of black Democrats is racist then every pollster and political scientist in this country who uses ethnicity, party, gender, age and other demographics to cleave voter populations, study votes and voting patterns are also racist — per your feeble definition. The precinct level data in Jackson is irrefutable and your problem is those voters will not be returning to Cochran’s column in November.

        I’m not using insults. I actually find your comments ignorant.

      • Hey Guys:
        You’re both correct. Jack’s comment of “black Democrat precincts” is racial profiling, or as sociologists and pollsters like to say, demographics. So in that respect, William is correct. However, Jack’s comment is no more improper than if someone made a similar observation about “white precincts in Northeast Jackson”. The demographics are what they
        are. Professional campaign managers live and breath over these kind of statistics. So, in this respect, Jack is correct in stating the obvious. However, Name-calling in an effort to attack another writer is not helpful to the general discussion. I have found that almost everyone who has contributed to this blog provides thoughtful insights–especially those
        McGOPers with whom I may not agree. I love their passion. The only time a problem arises is when some McGOPers feel that they have a morally superior position, they do resort to name-calling. Even though it’s done out of frustration, I’m confident that everyone can articulate
        their respective positions without becoming mean and petty. I just hope that if the Supreme Court upholds Judge McGehee’s dismissal, that we will be able to put the rancor of the last 4 months behind and move forward together as Speaker Phillip Gunn has beseeched us for a better Mississippi and a better America.

  4. The never give up attitude is most defiantly NOT wearing then with McDaniel Supporters. We offer nothing but support!

    • Only our very own McGOPers can lose an election contest, and turn around and call it a win! How rational is that? The next thing you know, The Anointed One will ask Sarah Palin if he can be her traveling companion, and when she rejects his request, he’ll turn around and claim that more he’s available to run for re-election to the MS State Senate.

      • Years ago when Mike Moore was still the MS Attorney General, he decided to run against Gene Taylor in the the Democrat primary for Congress. Taylor defeated Mr. Moore. But that did not stop Mike from spinning his defeat by commenting in his concession statement that he lost the congressional primary race because the people of South MS wanted him to remain in office to serve them as AG. He did all of this with a very straight face.

  5. frank gordon says:

    If you read the new testament, you will hear the story of another man who “Won By Losing”.

    Once every few generations, a man comes along whose Victory is not immediately posted on the Scoreboard of Life.

    • Hey Frank:
      Thanks for the reminder. You point out that by losing, The Anointed One might also be The Suffering Messiah as was foretold by the OT prophet Isaiah many years ago. This fits perfectly with his need for continued relevancy. The comparisons are very similar. Jesus had Peter, Mary Magellan, and John; Chris has Mitch, Melanie and Michael. Jesus turned water into wine, Chrissy whines. Jesus loved the poor, Chrissy loves to poor-mouth. Jesus condemned his fellow religious leaders, Chrissy condemns the GOP leadership. Jesus promised that the meek and the poor in spirit shall be blessed, Chris is blessed by taking their money. Truly, He is the The Anointed One, The Only Begotten Son of Ron, The Sacrificial Lamb.

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