Win or lose on Tuesday, Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran will have forfeited any vestige of honor or integrity he still has and will have capped off a successful political career with a campaign built on distortions, misrepresentions, and outright lies.
At RedState we've covered the Cochran campaign's strategy of encouraging Democrats to vote in the Republican primary (see Democrat join the fight to get Cochran re-elected and Thad Cocrhan's campaign reeks of flopsweat; all of our Thad Cochran coverage can be found here).
This week it has gotten worse.
A Democratic political operative says he is working with Mississippi Conservatives PAC to drum up votes for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.
James "Scooby Doo" Warren said he has put together a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) plan and is "putting it in place across the whole state." Warren said he is not working with the Cochran campaign itself but for the PAC and Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr.
Crudup is the pastor at New Horizon Church, whichshares an address and chief financial officer with a newly formed super PAC that ran print advertising in the primary supporting Cochran.
When asked if he was getting any blow back for working in a Republican primary, Warren said he "got all that taken care of on the front end."
In a weird change of pace, the Mississippi Democrat chairman, Rickey Cole, is accusing the Haley Barbour's operation of widespread vote buying.
From the article quoted above:
"Large sums of cash are being passed around," Cole said in the Facebook message. "These guys are old-school 'walking around money' vote buyers. It is happening in Hinds County, but they are trying to move black voters in the Delta, adams (sic), jefferson (sic), and claiborne (sic) too."
Cole confirmed the message was his, but it is not clear how Smith obtained it. Smith is a Republican lawmaker from Picayunne who supports McDaniel. He could not be reached for comment.
Henry Barbour, who heads Mississippi Conservatives PAC, could not be immediately be reached for comment.
Not everyone is onboard with Barbour trolling for black Democrats to vote for Cochran:
Mississippi Republican Party chairman Joe Nosef has stepped forward to call for only those who plan to vote for the Republican candidate in the general election to vote in Mississippi’s GOP primary runoff between six-term incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and state Sen. Chris McDaniel next Tuesday.
Nosef also denounced anyone who may have paid Democrats to vote for Cochran, as state Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole alleged on Tuesday.
“The law prohibits anyone from buying or selling a vote, as it should,” Nosef told Breitbart News. “We want a clean, hard-fought primary decided by voters who plan to support the Republican Party and our candidates in November. I personally have been and continue to be in touch with legal counsel as well as representatives from both campaigns in order to ensure that our runoff is accurate and legal.”
Nosef’s remarks are significant given his political history with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who is strongly backing Cochran. Sources close to Nosef tell Breitbart News he feels it’s the right thing to do to keep what’s become the bloodiest battlefield between the GOP establishment and Tea Party in 2014 under control.
For those who don't know, Mississippi runs an open primary system. For the runoff, the rules are that the GOP Senate primary is open to anyone who voted in the GOP primary AND to anyone who didn't vote, regardless of party. What Cochran's campaign is trying to do is energize black Democrats that did not vote earlier to show up Tuesday.
No one knows how successful this effort will be, but the number of absentee ballots is up:
Mississippi election officials report heavy absentee voting leading into Tuesday's Republican primary runoff for U.S. Senate.
Several Republican counties report an increase in absentee voting for the runoff compared to the June 3 primary. They include DeSoto and Lee in the north, Madison and Rankin in central Mississippi and Jackson County on the coast.
Absentee voting is also heavy near the candidates' homes. Cochran lives in Lafayette County and McDaniel in Jones County.
Not content to burn his integrity down with trying to win the GOP nomination by encouraging Democrats to vote in the GOP primary, Cochran has branched out into facially unethical behavior. In a rally of school employees, held on school grounds, Cochran was praised for bringing home the bacon:
At the Gulfport School District headquarters, about a dozen Coast superintendents in an education consortium meeting there heaped praise on the 76-year-old candidate. All had stories to tell of crucial Cochran support for their schools.
"Without your leadership and help, the Long Beach School District would not have made it back (from Katrina)," Superintendent Carolyn Hamilton said.
The support given Cochran extends, according to a post on the a WLOX-TV (Biloxi, MS) Facebook page, to the DeSoto County Schools Superintendent sending emails to school employees telling them to vote for Cochran.
"If we get our people to the polls we turn DeSoto County around," said DeSoto County Schools Superintendent Milton Kuykendall. "If we don't get our people to the polls we won't."
I don't pretend to be an authority in Mississippi election law but in most states this would be illegal. But this is Mississippi and the rules there seem to be whatever Haley Barbour decides.