GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A judge has dismissed the US senate primary runoff election challenge brought on by state senator Chris McDaniel.
On Friday at the Chancery Court in Gulfport, Special Judge Hollis McGehee explained why he approved US Senator Thad Cochran's motion to dismiss McDaniel's lawsuit. Cochran's legal team agreed with the judge and said its time for McDaniel to quit pursuing the challenge.
But McDaniel supporters say they hope he keeps on fighting.
"Senator McDaniel's failure to file within 20 days precludes the court from going further and means that the motion to dismiss must be granted without prejudice," said McGehee
A crowd of McDaniel and Cochran supporters filled the courtroom as McGehee made that ruling. The judge sided with Cochran's attorney's who pointed to the 1959 Mississippi State Supreme Court ruling in Kellum verses Johnson, where a 20-day deadline was established. McDaniel filed 41 days after the runoff election on August 4.
"So the court finds, as a matter of law, that Kellum verses Johnson is still good law," said McGehee.
"We hope that this is the end. Not the beginning of the end, but the end," said Cochran's attorney Mark Garriga.
McDaniel's attorney has argued the 1959 ruling is old law and no longer applicable and another court battle could happen.
"We think that the decision is incorrect and we hope that our client will let us appeal, so we can get that straightened out at the Supreme Court," said McDaniel's attorney Mitch Tyner.
Tyner has argued that in 2003 the state supreme court upheld a challenge to a state house of representative's primary race, by now-Speaker of the House Philip Gunn even though that challenge was filed over thirty days after the election.
"We used the exact same statute that speaker Gunn used in his challenge," said Tyner.
McDaniel supporters hope to see the tea party backed senator bring his challenge to the state's high court.
"Chris did what he thought was legal at the time that he was doing that based, I think on, other things that was going on, so I don't think he did it deliberately," said McDaniel supporter Elva Eubanks.
McDaniel's attorney says his client will mull over the idea of appealing the judge's decision over the weekend.
The election challenge was brought on after McDaniel lost the June 24 GOP primary runoff election against Thad Cochran. McDaniel claims thousands illegally voted for the incumbent. McDaniel will hold a press conference this Tuesday. There is no word yet where or at what time.