State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef sent Chris McDaniel a letter yesterday declining his request to have his primary runoff loss against incumbent Thad Cochran annulled by the executive committee. Via the AP:
Nosef wrote that the committee would have to determine procedures, decide whether McDaniel had challenged in time, order investigations by county committees, hear “potentially dozens of witnesses,” examine evidence and vote in one day.
“Obviously it is not possible for our committee of 52 volunteers to attempt to engage in such an exercise in a prudent manner in one day,” Nosef wrote. “In fact, given the extraordinary relief requests of overturning a United States Senate primary in which over 360,000 Mississippians cast votes, the only way to ensure the integrity of the election process and provide a prudent review of this matter is in a court of law.”
If McDaniel does proceed with a lawsuit, his chances of overturning the voters’ will are very low because the standards of evidence are simply too high. He has yet to show the world any of his “proof” that illegal votes determined the election’s outcome, and in fact one of the sections in his complaint has become a problem for McDaniel. Stevie Fielder, who told conservative blogger Charles C. Johnson weeks ago that he had received cash to buy votes, now says that McDaniel campaign spokesman Neil Fritsch paid him to lie. Sam Hall reports for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger:
(A) Democratic activist said two weeks ago that Fritsch contacted him about helping to find legal representation for Fielder. At the time, it was believed the FBI was talking to Fielder, but that has not been substantiated. The FBI previously would neither confirm nor deny any investigation into Fielder.
In an email statement Tuesday night, Fritsch said, “Charles Johnson paid for the texts & emails Cochran/Wicker staffer Saleem Baird sent that prove Cochran bought Democrat votes.” Fritsch did not respond to other questions about whether he helped raise the money used to pay Fielder or about his alleged involvement in securing legal representation for the Meridian man.
It’s getting harder for McDaniel to avoid the impression that his campaign is the one that has been playing dirty tricks all along: John Mary, one of the four men charged in a scheme to enter Rose Cochran’s nursing home and photograph her for a smear video on YouTube, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of “conspiracy to post messages through electronic media for purpose of causing injury to any person.”
Mr. Mary said the purpose of obtaining the photo to use in an internet photo was to cause harm to Senator Cochran and his campaign and “bolster” the campaign of Chris McDaniel. He said Elaine Vorcheck introduced him to local blogger Clayton Kelly. He said he and Mr. Kelly discussed how to take pictures of Mrs. Cochran. He said Mr. Kelly failed to twice to take pictures but was successful on this third attempt. Mr. Mary also said that “Constitutional Clayton” wanted “full credit for the pictures”.*
Mr. Mary said a Jack Fairchild introduced him to Laurel resident Rick Sager. He said Mr. Sager was good at “doing research”. The two of them decided to conduct research on Cochran aide Kay Weber. He said Mr. Sager and Mr. Kelly discussed how to take the pictures and use them in a video. Mr. Mary said he discussed it with them as well. All communications were made through the internet or telephone as they all lived in different parts of Mississippi. Mr. Mary said the conspiracy began in February but that Jackson attorney Mark Mayfield entered the conspiracy in March. Mr. Mary said he had done title work for the real estate attorney. He found out Mr. Mayfield’s mother lived in St. Catherine’s Village and introduced him to “Clayton Kelly so Clayton could get pictures.” Mr. Mayfield gave “Constitutional Clayton” a “complete layout of St. Catherine’s Village.” Sources told this correspondent the layout included the placement of the security cameras.
Mayfield, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound shortly after the primary runoff, was a volunteer for McDaniel’s campaign and a board member of the Central Mississippi Tea Party. Now that Mary has pleaded guilty, it is likely that the remaining two men will be considered for charges by a grand jury in September. The last thing McDaniel wants is to fight a court case to overturn the election while the sordid details of his supporters’ scheme are being laid bare in testimony.