The Senate Conservatives Fund is joining Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks to send “polling observers” into places in Mississippi where they think Democrats might cross party lines to vote for incumbent Thad Cochran. Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who once said that he did not respect the Voting Rights Act, calls his plan to prevent partisan miscegenation a “voter integrity project.”
Elections experts say that under Mississippi law, outside election observers deployed by political action committees would need authorization from the candidate to challenge any votes. But they are allowed to monitor the election — an effort that Matthew Steffey, an election law expert at the Mississippi College School of Law, said evokes memories of the civil rights struggles of the state’s past.
“Some folks think this is not really about legal challenges to individual ballots, but about dissuading or in some cases intimidating voters from coming to the polls to begin with,” he said.
At a weekend rally sponsored by the Tea Party Express in Laurel, Susan Barnett, a former teacher who said she had known the challenger since he was a toddler, suggested that Mr. Cochran’s campaign had hired a community organizer to pay blacks to show up at the polls on Tuesday.
One would think they have little to fear. McDaniel is seen by many Democrats as a weaker candidate in the general election, and while Cochran has in fact been reaching out to just about anyone he can, the Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party is not receptive to partisan integration.
“I think Democrats ought to vote for a Democratic nominee, Republicans ought to vote for a Republican nominee, and independents ought to wait until November,” (Ricky) Cole said Tuesday.
In a Facebook message to a Wall Street Journal reporter that was tweeted by state Sen. Tony Smith, Cole said he thought Warren was working with Pete Perry. Mississippi Conservatives PAC paid Perry’s company during the primary to do GOTV supporting Cochran. Perry’s involvement in the race drew criticism because he is chairman of the Hinds County Republican Executive Committee, which oversees GOP primary elections.
“Large sums of cash are being passed around,” Cole said in the Facebook message. “These guys are old-school ‘walking around money’ vote buyers. It is happening in Hinds County, but they are trying to move black voters in the Delta, adams (sic), jefferson (sic), and claiborne (sic) too.”
Cole confirmed the message was his, but it is not clear how Smith obtained it. Smith is a Republican lawmaker from Picayunne who supports McDaniel. He could not be reached for comment.
Matthew Boyle, the Breitbart.com writer who helped popularize the smear about Cochran’s longtime staffer that led Clayton Kelly into Rose Cochran’s nursing home room, reached out to get more from Mr. Cole:
In a phone interview, Cole confirmed he made the allegations and that he thinks there should be an investigation. “I can’t prove any of it yet,” Cole said. “This is just what I had heard. It think it warrants investigating, because I don’t know all of the details on it I just got word that James [‘Scooby Doo’ Warren] was bragging that he got money.”
If Cochran wins tomorrow’s runoff in a close finish, expect Boyle to channel the resulting surge of outraged conspiracy theories and rumors. If McDaniel wins, expect these same supporters of his to spin everything Mr. Cole just said into ‘proof’ that Democrats will commit vote fraud in November, necessitating huge expenditures and massive volunteerism to prevent the theft of an election. The fundraising emails pretty much write themselves, don’t they?