Chris McDaniel

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Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel.jpg
Mississippi State Senate, District 42
In office
2008 - present
Term ends
January 3, 2016
Years in position 6
Base salary$10,000/year
Per diem$123/day
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 8, 2011
First electedNovember 6, 2007
Term limitsN/A
J.D.University of Mississippi School of Law
BirthdayJune 28, 1971
Place of birthLaurel, Mississippi
Office website
Campaign website
Chris McDaniel (b. June 28, 1971) is a Republican member of the Mississippi State Senate, representing District 42. He was first elected to the chamber in 2007.

McDaniel was also a 2014 Republican candidate who sought election to the U.S. Senate from Mississippi.[1] He lost to incumbent Thad Cochran in the Republican primary runoff on June 24, 2014.[2]


McDaniel attended Jones County Junior College and William Carey University, and earned his J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law.

As of the close of the 2014 session, every piece of legislation written by McDaniel had died in committee.[1].

Committee assignments


In the 2012-2013 legislative session, McDaniel served on the following committees:

Mississippi Committee Assignments, 2012
Elections, Chair
Judiciary, Division B, Vice Chair
Compilation, Revision and Publication
Congressional Redistricting
Drug Policy
Legislative Reapportionment
Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks


In the 2010-2011 legislative session, McDaniel served on these committees:

Mississippi Committee Assignments, 2010
Judiciary, Division A
Oil, Gas and Other Minerals
Public Health and Welfare
Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

Election challenge 2014

Alleged voter fraud in runoff

After McDaniel received more votes in the initial primary election, which sent both McDaniel and incumbent Thad Cochran into a runoff for the Republican nomination, many polls and organizations were betting on McDaniel to win. When Cochran increased his vote total by 38,000 votes in the runoff, compared to McDaniel's increase of 30,000, questions were raised about how Cochran had managed to win over so many new voters. According to one article from FiveThirty-Eight, "Cochran’s campaign explicitly tried to increase his turnout in the runoff by bringing Democratic-leaning African-Americans to the polls."[3] Their analysis showed that the counties in which Cochran gained the most new voters were counties with over a 69 percent African-American population. One journalist discovered a flyer that read, "The Tea Party Intends To Prevent Blacks From Voting on Tuesday" being distributed in areas with higher African American populations, although the flyer did not state that it was paid for by Cochran's campaign. The Mississippi Conservatives PAC even sent out an automated phone message, stating, "By not voting, you are saying ‘take away all of my government programs, such as food stamps, early breakfast and lunch programs, millions of dollars to our black universities . . . everything we and our families depend on that comes from Washington will be cut.' ” Although none of these tactics were conclusively tied to Cochran himself, McDaniel supporters were furious with Cochran's campaign and supporters for trying to attract Democratic votes.[4] According to Mississippi election law, it is legal for Democratic voters to vote in the runoff for Cochran, as long as they had not previously voted for a Democratic candidate in the initial primary election.[3] However, McDaniel and his supporters claimed to have found over 1,000 ballots in one county alone that voted Democratic in the primary and for Cochran in the runoff.[5]

Runoff election challenge

As of July 2014, McDaniel had not yet conceded the race to Cochran, as he believed that about 35,000 of Cochran's votes came from Democratic voters, and that many of those voters had voted illegally in one of two ways: either by voting Democratic in the initial primary and Republican in the runoff or by voting Republican in the primary while intending to vote Democratic in the general election.[6] However, McDaniel had a difficult time finding a legal way to take action. At first, many supporters urged McDaniel to run as a write-in independent candidate in the November general election, but the filing deadline for independents had already passed, so McDaniel could not take this route.[6] Instead, McDaniel and his supporters began the process of looking for at least 7,000 invalid votes. Even with these votes, it would be difficult for McDaniel to challenge the results, as Mississippi law does not have any provision to allow for a recount. Due to these roadblocks, McDaniel's only option was to file a legal complaint.[7]

On August 4, 2014, McDaniel announced that he would challenge the runoff results by calling for a public hearing of the Mississippi GOP's central committee. McDaniel would present his evidence to the committee, at which point the 52 members would vote on whether or not the alleged voter fraud should invalidate the results. However, according to McDaniel's attorney, Mitch Tyner, "McDaniel is not asking for another election but to be declared the proper winner of the runoff."[8]

If the committee were to vote in Cochran's favor, then McDaniel would retain the option to sue in the circuit court. The details of this potential case can be found in this Washington Post article.[9]

Efforts from outside groups

True the Vote: On July 3, 2014, a group called True the Vote filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Secretary of State and the Republican Party of Mississippi on the grounds that they were denied access to voting records in two of the counties and found evidence of voter fraud in others. Some McDaniel supporters even claimed that Cochran paid Democratic voters $15 each to vote for him in the runoff.[10] Although they had to withdraw their lawsuit on July 8 because they had filed it in the wrong court, they re-filed it on July 9 in the Southern District.[11] A hearing was set in the federal court on July 24, 2014, but U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate removed himself from the case, at which point Judge Nancy Atlas was appointed in his place.[12] Atlas did not rule on the case that same day, but instead asked that both sides prepare briefs.[13] Ultimately, Atlas criticized True the Vote for claiming that the case was about voter fraud, when it was actually about obtaining information. She stated, "This is not a case of voter fraud. It's whether the National Voter Registration Act was complied with and whether it preempts state statute. This case is about transparency of the voter process with the counter issue of voter privacy."[14]

FreedomWorks: FreedomWorks for America also took action in McDaniel's defense, asking federal officials to investigate the election. They claimed to have heard about "text messages and communications allegedly from the Thad Cochran campaign that, if true, catch the campaign breaking election law and buying votes in the GOP runoff election."[15]

Senate Conservatives Fund: On July 8, 2014, the Senate Conservatives Fund came to McDaniel's aid as well, contributing $70,000 to McDaniel's investigation for voter fraud. McDaniel's campaign also began offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who presented evidence of the alleged fraud.[16]

Timeline of events

  • June 3, 2014: McDaniel and Cochran competed for the Republican nomination in Mississippi's primary election. McDaniel won 157,733 votes to Cochran's 156,315, but McDaniel did not obtain the 50 percent of votes necessary to avoid a runoff election.[17]
  • June 24, 2014: Cochran defeated McDaniel in the runoff primary, with 194,932 votes to McDaniel's 187,265.[18]
  • July 1, 2014: True the Vote sued the Republican Party of Mississippi and the Mississippi Secretary of State, Delbert Hosemann, for failing to release the voting records necessary for an investigation of voter fraud in the Cochran vs. McDaniel runoff. The lawsuit claimed that the records should have been released under the National Voter Registration Act Of 1993 (NVRA).[19]
  • July 3, 2014: McDaniel notified Cochran of his plans to challenge the primary runoff results due to illegitimate crossover votes from people who had voted in the Democratic primary and the Republican runoff.[20]
  • July 8, 2014:True the Vote withdrew their lawsuit without prejudice.[21]
  • July 9, 2014: True the Vote refiled their lawsuit in Jackson, in the Southern District, adding election commissions in Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Lauderdale, Leake, Madison, Rankin, Simpson and Yazoo counties to the list of defendants.[11]
  • July 24, 2014: Judge Nancy Atlas presided over a hearing for True the Vote's lawsuit, but did not make a ruling on the case.[13]
  • August 4, 2014: McDaniel confirmed at a news conference that he would challenge the runoff results at a public hearing of the Mississippi GOP’s central committee.[8]


Voting in Democratic primary

After losing a highly competitive runoff primary to incumbent Thad Cochran in 2014, McDaniel challenged the results by saying that a large percentage of Cochran's voters were Democrats who had illegally voted in the Republican primary. Although Mississippi voters do not have to be registered with the party to vote in a particular primary, they do have to vote for the same party in the primary and the runoff, and they also have to intend to vote for that party in the general election. However, shortly after the runoff, the Clarion-Ledger claimed to have found records of McDaniel voting for a Democratic candidate in Mississippi's 2003 state primary. Although McDaniel denied having done so at first, his spokesman later stated, "Over a decade ago, Chris McDaniel voted in a Democratic primary in order to have a choice in local competitive elections."[22]



See also: United States Senate elections in Mississippi, 2014

McDaniel ran in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Mississippi.[1] McDaniel sought the Republican nomination in the primary on June 3, 2014, which resulted in a runoff on June 24, 2014. McDaniel lost in the runoff to incumbent Thad Cochran.

U.S. Senate, Mississippi Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngChris McDaniel 49.5% 157,733
Green check mark transparent.pngThad Cochran Incumbent 49% 156,315
Thomas Carey 1.5% 4,854
Total Votes 318,902
Source: Mississippi Secretary of State - Official Republican primary results
U.S. Senate, Mississippi Runoff Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngThad Cochran Incumbent 51% 194,932
Chris McDaniel 49% 187,265
Total Votes 382,197
Source: Mississippi Secretary of State - Official Republican runoff primary results

Photos of Cochran's wife

Clayton Thomas Kelly, who ran a blog and openly supported McDaniel over incumbent Thad Cochran, was arrested on May 16, 2014, for sneaking into St. Catherine's Village, a nursing home, and taking unauthorized photographs of Cochran's bedridden wife in order to post them in an internet video attacking Cochran. He was arrested for exploitation of a vulnerable adult.[23] McDaniel's campaign denied any involvement with Kelly or the video, and McDaniel issued a statement criticizing Kelly's actions and reaching out to Cochran.[24]

Ads regarding photo scandal

  • After a McDaniel supporter took photos of Thad Cochran's wife in a recent scandal, Cochran came out with a new campaign ad attacking McDaniel.[25] McDaniel, however, denied any involvement or knowledge of the photos, and retaliated with his own ad.[26]

Cochran ad attacking McDaniel

McDaniel ad in response to Cochran's attack ad


McDaniel received the following endorsements for his 2014 bid:


  • McDaniel received negative media attention from the Mississippi Conservatives PAC. According to the PAC, McDaniel was hypocritical and tried to take both sides on many issues, including tort reform, Common Core and earmarks.[40]
  • In his first campaign ad of the election, McDaniel stated his position on a few issues, highlighting his support for prayer in public schools and second amendment rights.[41]
  • McDaniel released another campaign ad in May 2014, this time attacking his opponent in the Republican primary, Thad Cochran.[42]
  • Citizens United Political Victory Fund (CUPVF) released an ad on May 21, 2014, attacking Cochran and supporting McDaniel.[43]
  • In an ad similar to one put out by Citizens United, the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund released a campaign ad attacking Cochran and praising McDaniel.[44]
  • The Mississippi Conservatives PAC released an ad attacking McDaniel for voting in the Democratic primary.[45]

The Mississippi Conservatives PAC labels McDaniel a hypocrite.

McDaniel's first 2014 campaign ad

McDaniel campaign ad attacking Thad Cochran

Citizens United ad in favor of McDaniel

Tea Party Patriots ad in favor of McDaniel

Mississippi Conservatives PAC ad attacking McDaniel


See also: Mississippi State Senate elections, 2011

McDaniel won re-election to the Mississippi Senate District 42. He ran unopposed in the primary on August 2, 2011. No candidates ran in the Democratic primary. McDaniel won the general election on November 8, 2011, unopposed.[46]


See also: Mississippi State Senate elections, 2007

On November 6, 2007, Chris McDaniel ran for District 42 of the Mississippi State Senate, beating Martin Beech.[47]

Chris McDaniel raised $104,829 for his campaign.[48]

Mississippi Senate, District 42
Candidates Votes Percent
Chris McDaniel (R) 10,261 60.9%
Martin Beech (D) 6,596 39.1%

Campaign donors


Candidates for Congress are required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are McDaniel's reports.[49]

Chris McDaniel (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
Year-End[50]March 18, 2014$0.00$487,802.00$(172,412.37)$315,389.63
April Quarterly[51]April 15, 2014$315,389.63$474,584.72$(323,789.16)$466,165.19
Running totals


In 2011, McDaniel received $90,298 in campaign donations. The top contributors are listed below.[52]

Mississippi State Senate 2011 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Chris McDaniel's campaign in 2011
Mcdaniel, Christopher$10,000
Mcdaniel, Aleta$3,000
Herrington, Ronnie$2,800
Harrington, Ronnie$2,800
Blackstone Corp$2,000
Total Raised in 2011 $90,298
Total Votes received in 2011 17,590
Cost of each vote received $5.13


In 2009, McDaniel collected $10,200 in donations.[53]

His two largest contributors in 2009 were:

Donor Amount
Chris McDaniel $5,250
MD Eye Political Action $1,000


McDaniel and his wife, Jill, have one child.

Recent news

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Gulf, "State Sen. Chris McDaniel announces run for U.S. Senate in 2014," accessed October 18, 2013
  2. The Washington Post, "Cochran and McDaniel officially headed to Mississippi runoff," accessed June 4, 2014
  3. 3.0 3.1 FiveThirtyEight, "It Looks Like African-Americans Really Did Help Thad Cochran Win," accessed June 27, 2014
  4. National Review, "Remember Mississippi!," accessed July 10, 2014
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named hp
  6. 6.0 6.1 Newsmax, "Chris McDaniel Urged to Run as Write-In Candidate in Mississippi," accessed July 2, 2014
  7. Talking Points Memo, "McDaniel's Bizarre Plan To Challenge The Senate Race In Mississippi," accessed July 2, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 Politico, "Chris McDaniel challenges Mississippi Senate runoff," accessed August 6, 2014
  9. The Washington Post, "Chris McDaniel’s last hopes hinge on nine more votes — in a courtroom," accessed August 6, 2014
  10. Roll Call, "Conservative Lawsuit Challenges Cochran Runoff Win," accessed July 3, 2014
  11. 11.0 11.1 Scribd, "True the Vote v. Mississippi Complaint," accessed July 10, 2014
  12. The Clarion-Ledger, "Hearing set in True the vote lawsuit," accessed August 6, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1 MS News Now, "True the Vote suit still pending in federal court," accessed August 6, 2014
  14. Talking Points Memo, "Judge Grills True The Vote On Motives Behind Mississippi Lawsuit," accessed August 6, 2014
  15. The Washington Times, "Chris McDaniel, True the Vote challenge Mississippi primary vote," accessed July 3, 2014
  16. Yahoo! News, "The Senate Conservatives Fund sent $70,000 to McDaniel to challenge Mississippi runoff election results," accessed July 9, 2014
  17. Mississippi Secretary of State, "2014 Republican Primary Results," accessed July 10, 2014
  18. Mississippi Secretary of State, "2014 Republican Primary Runoff Results," accessed July 10, 2014
  19. Brenner Brief, "True the Vote v. Mississippi Complaint," accessed July 10, 2014
  20. CNN, "McDaniel plans to challenge Mississippi runoff result," accessed July 10, 2014
  21. 21.0 21.1 The Clarion Ledger, "True the Vote drops lawsuit, likely to refile in Jackson," accessed July 10, 2014
  22. Talking Points Memo, "Mississippi Tea Party Challenger Voted As A Democrat In 2003," accessed July 3, 2014
  23. The Clarion-Ledger, "Man arrested for sneaking into Cochran's wife's nursing home," accessed May 20, 2014
  24. Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate, "McDaniel Campaign Statements Regarding the Arrest of Clayton Kelly," accessed May 28, 2014
  25. YouTube, "Thad attack ad," accessed May 28, 2014
  26. YouTube, "McDaniel addresses negative, shameless attack ads," accessed May 28, 2014
  27. Washington Times, "Club for Growth endorses Sen. Thad Cochran's likely GOP primary challenger," accessed October 18, 2013
  28. Campaign website, "TEA PARTY EXPRESS ENDORSES CHRIS MCDANIEL FOR U.S. SENATE," accessed November 6, 2013
  29. FreedomWorks for America, "Chris McDaniel," accessed May 28, 2014
  30. The Washington Post, "Conservative group launches early ad for Sen. Cochran’s primary foe," accessed November 13, 2013
  31. Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, "Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund Endorses Chris McDaniel for United States Senate," accessed May 28, 2014
  32. Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate, "Gun Owners of America Endorses McDaniel for U.S. Senate," accessed May 28, 2014
  33. Breitbart, "Sarah Palin Endorses Chris McDaniel for Senate in Mississippi," accessed May 28, 2014
  34. PR Newswire, "Bauer Endorses McDaniel For Senate," accessed May 28, 2014
  35. Eagle Forum, "Schlafly Endorses McDaniel in Mississippi U.S. Senate Primary," accessed May 28, 2014
  36. Madison Project, "Madison Project PAC Endorses Chris McDaniel for Senate in Mississippi," accessed May 28, 2014
  37. Coalition to Reduce Spending, "Chris McDaniel Rejects the Debt in MS," accessed May 28, 2014
  38. Y'all Politics, "YAL, Liberty Action Fund Endorses Chris McDaniel," accessed May 28, 2014
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 39.3 39.4 39.5 Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate, "Ron Paul Endorses Chris McDaniel for U.S. Senate," accessed June 10, 2014
  40. YouTube, "Chris McDaniel - "Both Sides" - Earmarks," accessed April 4, 2014
  41. The Hill, "Cochran's Tea Party foe launches first ad," accessed April 23, 2014
  42. YouTube, "Lost Touch," accessed May 16, 2014
  43. YouTube, "CUPVF: Changing Washington," accessed May 28, 2014
  44. YouTube, "What Happened to Thad?," accessed May 28, 2014
  45. YouTube, "Trial Lawyer Chris McDaniel Voted as a Democrat," accessed May 28, 2014
  46. Mississippi Department of State, 2011 Official State Senate Candidate List
  47. Mississippi State Senate official election results for 2007
  48. Follow the Money's report on McDaniel's 2007 campaign contributions
  49. Federal Election Commission, "Chris McDaniel Summary Report," accessed April 28, 2014
  50. Federal Election Commission, "Chris McDaniel Year-End," accessed April 28, 2014
  51. Federal Election Commission, "Chris McDaniel April Quarterly," accessed April 28, 2014
  52. Follow the Money, "2011 Campaign Contributions," accessed May 15, 2014
  53. 2009 contributors to Chris McDaniel
Political offices
Preceded by
Mississippi State Senate District 42
Succeeded by