WASHINGTON, Aug. 29, 2014 – A state judge in Mississippi today dismissed Tea Party-backed Chris McDaniel’s challenge to U.S. Senator Thad Cochran's June Republican Party primary victory.

Cochran, the ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and a former committee chairman, won the election by 7,667 votes out of more than 360,000 cast. McDaniel, a state senator, asked a judge in Jones County in early August to set aside the results, claiming that Cochran’s winning margin came from ineligible Democrat voters.

Judge Hollis McGehee, however, agreed with the Cochran campaign, which argued that state law requires legal challenges to a state-wide election be initiated within 20 days of the balloting. McDaniel's challenge was filed more than six weeks after the June 24 runoff.

Should the ruling stand, Cochran is heavily favored to win a seventh Senate term in the November general election. A spokesman for McDaniel said no decision has been made about a possible appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court. A local television station, WLOX TV, said McDaniel has scheduled a news conference on Sept. 2, the day after Labor Day, to announce a decision.


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