• Black Democrats paid to vote Republican.
By Victor Thorn —
Campaign dirty tricks are as old as politics itself, but few compare to the underhanded tactics used by 36-year incumbent William Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) in a June 24 runoff election against tea party candidate Chris McDaniel.
After the challenger McDaniel whipped his opponent in a June 3 GOP primary, Cochran resorted to every base ploy imaginable to retain his seat. Now, Mississippi Reverend Stevie Fielder has admitted that he worked with a Cochran staffer named Saleem Baird to pay black Democrats to cross party lines and cast their ballots in the open primary for the establishment politician.
On June 25, this reporter contacted Richard Conrad of the Jones County, Mississippi 9-12 Project.
“I’ve heard reports that Cochran’s people courted black preachers in certain churches, who in turn told their congregations to vote for Cochran,” Conrad stated. “There are also strong indications that these black Democrats were being paid.”
When asked about the specifics of this plot, Conrad insisted: “Former Republican Governor Haley Barbour and the GOP elite were the ones behind courting black voters. Barbour ran Cochran’s entire campaign. Because Mississippi is an open primary state, Democrats that hadn’t already voted within their own party could cross the aisle and impact the Republican runoff.”
Barbour and company’s motives were clear, according to Conrad.
“It’s all about money, appropriations, lobbyists and the elite keeping power,” he said. “How could Cochran’s campaign justify accepting $250,000 from former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and another $250,000 from a New York liberal? It’s a travesty, and a sad day for the conservative movement.”
Conrad’s allegations were later confirmed.
First, Fielder, the black Mississippi preacher, told reporter Zach Noble on July 1: “What [Cochran staffer] Saleem Baird would do is put $15 per vote in envelopes and then give it to people as they’d go in and vote.”
Why would a liberal man of the cloth agree to such a scheme? Fielder confessed, “The Cochran campaign sold me on the fact that McDaniel was a racist and the right thing to do was keep him out of office.”
After the fact, though, Fielder learned that he’d been lied to and manipulated.
That didn’t stop Cochran’s henchmen. Days before the election they smeared McDaniel with a flier declaring, “The tea party intends to prevent blacks from voting.” They also made a slew of robocalls to black Democrats labeling McDaniel a racist, while also promising that Cochran would increase food stamps in their districts. As a result, counties with a black population of over 50% saw a 40% increase in votes for Cochran.
The Barbour machine also called in favors to receive $850,000 in donations from Big Pharma companies, oil executives, defense contractors, automakers, lobbying firms and entrenched Republicans like Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).
In contrast, McDaniel’s grassroots campaign relied on only $26,000 from eight conservative PACs.
Encapsulating the corruption that ensued, on July 1 freelance journalist Charles Johnson, who broke the story about Fielder, told AFP: “This election will go down in American history as one of the most disgusting and race-baiting we have ever had. There is overwhelming evidence of criminal behavior on the part of Mississippi’s elected officials.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.