Local Republican party chair: Move on, McDaniel

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, August 5, 2014

NATCHEZ The chairman of the Adams County Republican Party, Sue Stedman, said it’s time to move on.

That was Stedman’s reaction Monday afternoon to the news State Sen. Chris McDaniel has formally filed a challenge with the state GOP executive committee over the outcome of the Republican primary runoff election for U.S. Senate.

McDaniel lost on June 24 in a runoff election with incumbent Thad Cochran for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate.

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In a press conference Monday afternoon, McDaniel attorney Mitch Tyner said McDaniel is challenging 9,500 votes as “irregular,” 3,500 as “cross-over ballots” actually cast by Democrats, and 2,275 absentee ballots as improperly cast.

McDaniel, who earned more votes than Cochran in the primary election, lost by 7,667 votes in the runoff.

“It’s just time to move on,” Stedman said. “If this is what he thinks he needs to do, let’s get it over with. Everyone in the party is ready to move on. If he’s got something that he thinks can overturn this election, he has every right to contest it. But let’s get on with it, but it doesn’t seem logical to me that he’s going to be able to produce that.”

Stedman said her primary concern is sending conservative leadership to Washington, D.C.

“Hopefully, after all this is over, we will be able to move forward with the business the party should be working on as opposed to this stuff,” she said. “I think the people at the state level are going to do everything they can to keep things moving forward.

“I haven’t talked to Thad, but I believe he is going to continue campaigning throughout the rest of the election, and I feel good about what that outcome will be,” Stedman said. “It’s important to remember that the person we send up there as a state senator has to represent everyone in the state. I believe Thad has always done that. There are times when I have not been happy with him, of course. His job is to represent everyone in the state and that will be the senator’s job regardless.”

State Sen. Melanie Sojourner, R-Natchez, served as tea-party backed McDaniel’s campaign manager. She did not immediately return a phone message Monday left seeking comment.