Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dismissed allegations from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, of impropriety in the Mississippi Republican primary — but noted it’s an issue for state officials to decide.
“I assume the people in Mississippi will look at what ever complaints are filed,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday when asked to comment on Cruz’s call for an investigation in to voter fraud. “That is what typically happens in a post election situation if there are complaints filed they are dealt with at the state level.”
“I think it’s pretty clear who won. Sen. [Thad Cochran, R-Miss.,] ran a very successful runoff campaign and got the most votes," McConnell added. "But anybody is entitled to contest the outcome and that well may happen in Mississippi.”
Cochran defeated state Sen. Chris McDaniel by more than 7,000 votes in the GOP runoff on June 24. The senator did so, in part, by reaching out to African American voters, who tend to vote for Democrats in general elections.
Back on Capitol Hill, the Cochran-McDaniel feud has become a proxy fight between McConnell and Cruz. McConnell backed the incumbent, Cochran. Cruz, a tea party conservative, previously supported Senate Conservatives Fund, which backed McDaniel.
McConnell’s comments come after Cruz was a guest Monday night on Mark Levin’s radio show where he said that allegations of voter fraud should be investigated and prosecutions should follow. Cruz blamed establishment Republicans for orchestrating the Cochran strategy.
“What we know at the outset is that Chris McDaniel won a sizable majority of the votes from Republicans who voted in the runoff,” Cruz said. “But the DC machine spent hundreds of thousands of dollars urging some 30,000 to 40,000 partisan Democrats to vote in the runoff, which changed the outcome.”
“All of us want to grow the party,” Cruz continued. “But what the DC machine did was not try to grow the party. Instead, the ads they ran were charged false attacks and they were explicit promises to continue and expand the welfare state. And nobody has suggested that the Democrats who voted in the primary will vote Republican in the general election. They were actually recruited to pick who the Republican nominee was and that is unprincipled and its wrong.
“But even more troubling [is that] in the past week or so, we have serious allegations of voter fraud,” Cruz said. “And I very much hope that no Republican was involved in voter fraud. But these allegations need to be vigorously investigated and anyone involved in criminal conduct should be prosecuted.”
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