Mississippi high court to hear challenge of U.S. Senate race outcome

By Emily Le Coz JACKSON Miss. (Reuters) – The Mississippi Supreme Court will hear Tea Party-backed Senate candidate Chris McDaniel’s legal challenge of his Republican primary defeat in a race he claims was stolen, a justice ordered Tuesday. In an election once seen as a key test of Tea Party clout, McDaniel lost the Republican nomination to six-term incumbent U.S. Senator Thad Cochran by roughly 7,700 votes in a June 24 primary runoff.  But McDaniel refused to concede, claiming that Cochran encouraged voter fraud and that thousands of ballots had been improperly cast by Democrats – mostly African-American – or mishandled by county election officials. McDaniel’s campaign appealed to the state’s high court after a circuit court judge, determining his lawyers had taken too long to file an initial complaint with the state Republican Party, dismissed the claim last month.

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