Senator Thad Cochran encouraged Democratic voters to participate in Tuesday's Republican runoff election. Wednesday, News 25 spoke with leaders of both political parties to find out what they thought about the strategy.
Wednesday, Chris McDaniel supporters on the Coast are reeling after the defeat of their candidate in Tuesday’s Republican runoff. Barry Neyrey, Chairman of the South Mississippi Tea Party, says, “To us, we feel like America is really in trouble, and we’ve been trying to get someone in Washington that really represented Mississippi values, really would stand up for freedom and the free market system, and Chris was that man.”
On June 3rd, incumbent, Thad Cochran, was unable to secure a solid majority in the primary, so during the runoff, Cochran appealed to Democrats to cross over and vote for him. That strategy does not sit well with McDaniel supporters. Barry also says, “A person can or can’t vote in a particular election. It doesn’t sit with us well, but on the other hand, you have a political party, and this party is a group of people with like-minded opinions and this group of people wants to get together and elect a candidate to run against the other group of people.”
Democrat party leaders on the Coast agree. Renick Taylor says, “Republicans should vote for Republicans. Democrats should vote for Democrats. We have a party system and parties should be allowed to choose their own candidates.” Some local political leaders agree with Mississippi's primary system. Joey Robinson is the Libertarian candidate for Mississipi's fourth congressional district. He thinks Mississippians have the right to cross over voting in primaries. Robinson says, “The open primary itself is great, because what it allows you to do is choose the candidate you want to go for regardless of the party they’re in and it allows you to make that choice based on the candidate, based on that person’s qualifications.”
Every state has its own primary system. For example, Louisiana has a completely open primary where citizens vote on all the candidates regardless of political affiliation. Another example is Virginia, where candidates are nominated in conventions and caucuses. The point is, it's up to Mississippians whether or not they like their primary system. Taylor closes, “The state legislature holds the keys to this. If we were to bring both sides together to fix this, then we can really press forward.”
The Mississippi Tea Party will host a press conference Thursday at 4:00 p.m. at the State Capital on the lower level. Speakers will address the comment on the results of Tuesday’s runoff election.