Chris McDaniel's journey toward an election challenge has begun and his campaign unveiled a new strategy they hope will get them credible evidence of voter fraud.
Earlier this week, a report surfaced about alleged vote buying supposedly tied to Sen. Thad Cochran's campaign. Now, McDaniel's team is offering reward money for evidence of voter irregularities.
They're offering fifteen different rewards, each for $1,000, for anybody who provides evidence of voter fraud that leads to an arrest.
"We felt that those folks who do have evidence of voter fraud would definitely be interested in bringing that to light in order to maintain integrity of the election process," McDaniel campaign spokesman Noel Fritsch said.
The campaign is asking for $15 from conservatives to help fund the rewards.
"Allegedly the Cochran campaign paid $15, you know, for votes on the ground," Fritsch said. "We would ask that Mississippians would also help chip in $15 to help shine a light on that alleged voter fraud."
Cochran's camp has continually said the allegations of voter fraud are baseless. However, the strategy has one Cochran supporter asking questions.
"When law enforcement offers a reward, it's because it knows a crime has been committed and it's trying to find out who committed the crime," political strategist Andy Taggart said. "Here, we don't even know that a crime has been committed and we're offering money to people to say that a crime has been committed. Well, you can kind of guess how that may play itself out."
It's also the second donation request McDaniel's camp has made in the last two days. On Wednesday, McDaniel asked supporters for $50 to help fund the campaign's future legal challenge.
Taggart said he also has concerns regarding how the money will be used.
"Post-election fundraising is not uncommon to retire campaign debts," Taggart said. "To do it under the guise of some other mechanism, that's pretty strange."
Fritsch said the campaign had no campaign debt left. He also addressed a comment made by the Cochran camp's senior adviser Austin Barbour on Wednesday, telling McDaniel's people to "put up or shut up."
"Yesterday, it was really disappointing to see Austin Barbour stand up and say 'shut up' to Mississippians who are calling for an honest, open, fair election," Fritsch said. "I'm very hopeful that that's not Sen. Cochran's position, and I certainly hope it was just a mistake."
Meanwhile, the first step in mounting a legal challenge began Thursday for the campaign. McDaniel's team served a formal notice of request to examine the election records, which expands the scope of the team's investigation beyond poll books.
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