Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published June 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM | Page modified June 6, 2014 at 11:47 AM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

Another twist in Mississippi Senate race triggers sheriff’s probe

Both campaigns seized on the incident as the latest down-and-dirty tactic in a primary that has upended Mississippi politics.


Tribune Washington Bureau

Reader Comments
Hide / Show comments
It's fun to watch the RepubliCONS and teabaggers self-destruct. Pass the popcorn, please. MORE
Mud will be slung tonight!! This is getting good. MORE

advertising

WASHINGTON — The already odd GOP primary in Mississippi just kicked it up a notch.

Sheriff’s officials in Hinds County confirmed Thursday they were investigating a “bizarre” incident that left three supporters of tea-party front-runner Chris McDaniel temporarily locked inside the county courthouse where ballots had been counted on election night.

Sheriff’s spokesman Othor Cain said the department was trying to figure out how the three people gained access to the building after hours and ended up temporarily trapped inside around 2 a.m., long after election workers had put the ballots in a vault and gone home for the night.

Both campaigns seized on the incident as the latest down-and-dirty tactic in a primary that has upended Mississippi politics. Neither McDaniel nor longtime incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran cleared the 50 percent threshold Tuesday needed to avoid a runoff in three weeks.

“At some point, Republican voters in Mississippi need to say, ‘Is Chris McDaniel who we want on the national stage embarrassing us?’ ” asked Cochran spokesman Jordan Russell.

McDaniel supporters were arrested in connection with an incident last month when a blogger took a photo of Cochran’s ailing wife in her nursing home. McDaniel has distanced himself from the blogger.

Supporters of McDaniel, whose come-from-behind surge has put the 76-year-old six-term senator in a fight for his political life, have accused Cochran’s team of overreacting to both incidents in an attempt to halt momentum for their candidate.

“Sadly, the Cochran campaign wants to make this campaign about anything other than the issues,” said McDaniel spokesman Noel Fritsch. “Mississippians deserve better than this sort of distraction politics.”

The sheriff’s spokesman said the department was investigating but does not believe any ballots were tampered with during what Cain called a “very, very bizarre” incident. Only the hallways and restrooms were accessible, he said, and the ballots remained in a vault in a locked circuit-court office.

“We’ve got no reason to believe there was a breach in security in regard to the voting process,” Cain said.

The sheriff’s office identified the three who were trapped as Janis Lane, president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party; Scott Brewster and Rob Chambers.



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

Bad email habits to break today


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►