Claim: Chris McDaniel is a trial lawyer whose work has caused Mississippi to lose jobs
This is the same false claim that was launched against Chris in 2014 during his campaign against Thad Cochran. Chris works for one of the state’s oldest defense law firms, Hortman Harlow in Laurel.
He is a member of the American Bar Association and the Mississippi Bar. He is also a member of the Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association, Mississippi Claims Association, Defense Research Institute, and the Federalist Society. Three of these distinguished organizations do not accept “trial lawyers” as members. His clients include well-known companies in Mississippi that employ thousands of Mississippians.
As a three-term State Senator, Chris has consistently voted in favor of every bill to reform the legal system, new laws that would punish those who repeatedly file frivolous lawsuits and to limit attorney fees, not something an “ambulance chaser” would ever support.
A “trial lawyer” or “personal injury lawyer” files lawsuits against companies seeking damages on behalf of clients. But almost all of Chris’s work is in defense of companies and against the very trial lawyers the opposition claims he is. His law firm, in which he is a partner, has a long history of defending major corporations from lawsuits.
This false claim was fact-checked in 2014 by several outlets, including the Clarion Ledger, where Sam R. Hall, a former executive director of the Mississippi Democratic Party, admitted “McDaniel supports the tort reform measures already enacted in Mississippi and has spoken in favor of additional tort reform measures.” Hall also called the attacks on McDaniel’s record as an attorney “disingenuous” and “stale.”
Claim: Chris McDaniel doesn’t support President Trump
In an attempt to separate Chris from his conservative base and the vast network of Trump supporters, the opposition has made the false claim that he does not support the President. But in reality, Chris supports President Trump and his America First agenda. During the 2016 Presidential primaries, Chris supported Texas conservative Senator Ted Cruz, but President Trump was always his second choice.
President Trump supports an America First agenda, putting the needs of the American people before the needs of others. The agenda includes tougher trade deals and punishment for “cheaters” like China, a border wall and enforcement of immigration laws, no amnesty under any circumstances, and a more prudent, America First foreign policy. These are policies Chris has supported his entire life and ran on in 2014. He was so much in agreement with the agenda that Donald Trump endorsed Chris in his race against Cochran.
Chris has always been very complimentary toward President Trump, even while Cruz was fighting for the GOP nomination. After it was clear that President Trump would secure the Republican nomination, Chris publicly supported him as the party’s nominee. Primaries are a competitive process and Trump proved to be the strongest candidate — which is a good thing because he went on to beat Hillary Clinton.
Let’s not forget though that many of the same people who are attacking Chris for not being with Trump in the primary were supporting Governor John Kasich and actively worked to deny Trump the nomination. Today, Sen. McDaniel supports President Trump’s agenda and is eager to get to work helping Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ as a United States Senator.
Claim: Chris is always absent from the State Senate and regularly misses key votes
Chris has a 99% voting record in the Senate. He has only missed 53 votes over the past eight years. Official records of the State Senate show that Chris voted on 5,238 of the 5,291 signed into law over the past eight years. Put another way, he’s only missed 53 votes out of 5,291, which is not a bad record of attendance considering Chris works full time as an attorney and has a full-time family life with a wife and two small boys.
Claim: Chris was responsible for the incident at the nursing home of then Sen. Cochran’s wife
Chris had nothing to do with the nursing home scandal. The case against those convicted of this horrendous ordeal was handled by the justice system, and the McDaniel campaign was fully cleared by everyone involved — law enforcement, prosecutors, the defendants and their attorneys.
Everyone testified that the defendants were not associated with the McDaniel campaign. The campaign even provided documentation to investigators showing that neither Chris nor his campaign had any knowledge of the event. Several years prior to this occurrence, Chris actually authored legislation to protect vulnerable adults in Mississippi.
Claim: Chris would lose to a Democrat in a runoff
For years, the establishment has made the case that “if only our party would nominate candidates who were more like Democrats than conservatives that we could win more seats for Republicans.” That strategy has been tried in the New England states, and out of 10 Senate seats and 33 House seats, Republicans hold exactly 1 Senate seat and 1 House seat – that’s 2 seats out of 43 seats.
When voters are given a choice between a Democrat and a Republican who votes like a Democrat, they always choose the Democrat. That’s what happened in New England in congressional elections and it happened nationwide in presidential elections over the past 20 years. That’s why we never had a President Dole, a President McCain or a President Romney.
When Republicans nominate a candidate who may as well be a Democrat, it has the effect of depressing the conservative base. They won’t show up for Democrat-Lite candidates and the real Democrat wins. That’s why we need conservatives in Mississippi to elect conservatives because if we won’t send a conservative to Congress, who will?
The bottom line is that Mississippi is not going to send a Democrat to Washington as a United States Senator.
The last Democrat to win a US Senate seat in Mississippi was long-time Senator John C. Stennis, who won election to his first term in 1948 and his last in 1982 against Haley Barbour. As George Will has pointed out, Mississippi has not had “a freshman Democratic senator since Harry Truman was president.” But Stennis came from the old Democratic Party, which was much more conservative.
The last serious candidate the Democrats ran in a US Senate race in Mississippi was Ronnie Musgrove who, incidentally, was the state’s last Democratic governor and had won his gubernatorial race in 1999, not by majority vote, but by election in the state House of Representatives when no candidate that year received a constitutionally required majority. After a disastrous, and fiscally irresponsible, term in office, he lost his re-election bid to Haley Barbour in 2003. The last Democrat to win a governor’s race with a majority vote was Ray Mabus in 1987, when Ronald Reagan was president.
Claim: Chris was a sore loser by not conceding his loss to Thad Cochran in 2014
Chris McDaniel bested Thad Cochran in the Republican Primary in 2014 but finished with 49.5 percent of the vote, one-half of a percent short of the threshold for an undisputed victory, putting the race into a run-off. Three weeks later, the Cochran campaign, with the backing of the Barbours, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a nasty race-baiting media campaign, and hundreds of thousands more in a massive vote-buying scheme, to persuade nearly 40,000 Democrats to vote in the Republican run-off, which ultimately handed the nomination to Cochran by less than 7,000 votes.
Conservatives across the country were angry that Democrats had chosen the Republican Party’s nominee for a US Senate seat in Mississippi. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, and Sean Hannity all lashed out at the Cochran campaign, with Hannity opening his radio show the next day with a long monologue: “I am so angry at this Thad Cochran-Chris McDaniel race, I can’t even begin to tell you. Thad Cochran, seeing his power slipping away after many decades as a senator in Washington 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.”
Members of Cochran’s team later admitted that they did indeed launch a get-out-the-Democrat-vote strategy. In fact, the Barbour-backed Cochran campaign hired several Democratic operatives to assist them – Bishop Ronnie Crudup, James “Scooby Doo” Warren, and Mitzi Bickers, who has since been indicted for bribery in another case.
Chris ran his 2014 campaign on the same basis he is running in 2018: against the establishment, against the status quo, and against the massive corruption in Mississippi. He promised the voters then, as he does now, that he would always fight for them and would never quit the field of battle. With multiple reports of Democrats voting illegally in the Republican primary, and vast amounts of “street money” all over the state, Chris could not honorably concede a race based on such wide levels of outright fraud.
To concede would be to admit that what the Cochran campaign had done was acceptable. But by refusing to concede, and by filing electoral challenges in court, Chris hoped to expose the Cochran camp’s behavior to the state’s voters. Fighting on behalf of Republicans as he has always done, Chris wanted to uphold the integrity of the electoral system in Mississippi, and exposing fraud in 2014 could lead to new laws to ensure open and honest elections. The rank-and-file members of the party needed to be assured that Democrats would never interfere in a Republican primary again and the only way to do that was to challenge the election results.