Conservative talk radio hosts lashed out at Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran for beating his tea party primary challenger, Chris McDaniel, with the help of votes from blacks and Democrats.
Cochran Wins GOP Primary Runoff Against Tea Party Challenger, With Help From Black And Democrat Voters
New York Times: Incumbent Cochran Wins Republican Primary “With An Unusual Assist From African-American” And Democratic Voters. The New York Times reported that Republican incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran beat state Sen. Chris McDaniel in the June 24 Republican primary runoff election, with an “unusual assist from African-American voters and other Democrats”:
With an unusual assist from African-American voters and other Democrats who feared his opponent, Senator Thad Cochran on Tuesday beat back a spirited challenge from State Senator Chris McDaniel, triumphing in a Republican runoff and defeating the Tea Party in the state where the movement's hopes were bright.
Mr. Cochran, who is seeking his seventh term, used the past three weeks to turn out Democratic voters -- especially African-Americans -- to make up that deficit.
Mr. Cochran's victory was powered in part by African-Americans in areas of north Jackson whose turnout shattered that seen in those precincts in the primary. Turnout jumped fivefold at New Hope Baptist Church, and sevenfold at Green Elementary School, where only 14 voters came out on June 3 but about 100 showed up on Tuesday. [The New York Times, 6/24/14]
Slate: Open Primary In Mississippi Means Anyone Can Vote. Slate reported that Cochran's campaign team is within the state's rules in trying to appeal to African-American and Democratic voters: because there is no party registration in Mississippi, “anyone can vote in the Republican primary, as long as they didn't vote in the Democratic one,” and because voter turnout for the Democratic primary was substantially lower than for the Republican one, Mississippi has “an ample population of black voters who could give Cochran the edge he needs to win.” [Slate, 6/20/14]
Right-Wing Talk Radio Hosts Are Outraged Cochran Sought Votes From Minorities
Rush Limbaugh: “Black Uncle Tom Voters” Are Responsible For Sen. Cochran's Primary Win. On the June 25 edition of his radio show, Rush Limbaugh wondered whether Cochran's winning campaign slogan was “Uncle Toms For Thad,” expressing outrage that African-American voters contributed to Cochran's primary success. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/25/14]
Limbaugh: Turnout Of Black Voters “Gave Thad Cochran ... A Corrupt And Undeserved Victory.” On the same day, Limbaugh argued that Cochran distributing campaign materials in black neighborhoods helped give him a “corrupt and undeserved victory”:
LIMBAUGH: So the Washington establishment, both parties, distribute a flyer claiming the tea party wanted to prevent blacks from voting on Tuesday. This, combined with other efforts, secured a turnout of black Democrat voters in a Republican primary that gave Thad Cochran, in my view, a corrupt and undeserved victory. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/25/14]
Glenn Beck: What Has “90-Year-Old Fart” Cochran Ever Done For Black Democrats In Mississippi? On the June 25 edition of his radio program, Glenn Beck expressed outrage over Cochran's primary win, calling it “absolutely unbelievable,” and angrily attributed the win to black Democratic voters:
BECK: I have a question for every black Democrat in Mississippi: What the hell has this 90-year-old fart -- a white Republican, the same white Republican that for years the Democrats have been telling you are nothing but old racists -- you tell me exactly what Thad Cochran did for you.
I want African-Americans -- clear out the phone lines, I want only African-Americans from Mississippi, one that can be extraordinarily specific with me on what this old white Republican has done for you. Tell me exactly: is it the unemployment rate that is so great for African-Americans? Or do you give credit for that wonderful African-American unemployment rate to the president and the Democrats?
You either say, “No, no, no, I recognize how much it sucks to be black and unemployed in America, and so I'm done with the Democrats, I'm going to go over to this new fresh-faced Republican who's provided even better unemployment rates for us.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Glenn Beck Program, 6/25/14, via The Blaze (subscription required)]
Laura Ingraham: Taste Of Cochran's Victory Should Be Bitter Because He “Played The Race-Baiting Game.” On the June 25 edition of her radio program, Laura Ingraham accused the Cochran campaign of “playing the race-baiting game,” and argued that courting minority voters detracts from the primary victory, saying “the taste of victory today should be quite bitter.” [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 6/25/14]
Sean Hannity: Cochran Ran With “The Opposite” Of “Dignity And Honor And Integrity” By Courting Blacks And Democrats. On the June 25 edition of his radio program, Fox News host Sean Hannity accused Cochran and the Republican establishment of perpetuating the myth that the tea party is racist in order to win the race:
HANNITY: I am so angry at this Thad Cochran/Chris McDaniel race, I can't even begin to tell you. You know, between the flyer that was distributed in black neighborhoods and the robocall saying, “The time has come to take a stand and say no to the tea party. No to their obstruction. No to their disrespect and treatment of the first African-American president.” Why would these calls be made in a GOP primary? We all know the reason, because according to Mississippi law Democrats not voting in either party primary -- remember, this was a runoff -- were eligible to vote in the Cochran-McDaniel runoff. And Thad Cochran, seeing his power slipping away after many decades as a senator in Washington, you know, knew that his career was on the line here. And rather than run with dignity and honor and integrity and honor and decency, what did he do? He did just the opposite. And he was appealing to Democratic voters.
He perpetrated the worst libel, the worst smear against conservatives, against the tea party, which is this false narrative that you hear every election cycle from Democrats: that conservatives are racist, that conservatives are mistreating the president because he's black. None of which is true. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 6/25/14]