|Member of the Mississippi State Senate|
from the 42nd district
January 8, 2008
Christopher Brian McDaniel
June 28, 1971
Laurel, Mississippi, U.S.
|Education||Jones County Junior College (AA)|
William Carey University (BS)
University of Mississippi (JD)
Christopher Brian McDaniel (born June 28, 1971) is an American attorney, talk radio host, and Republican Party politician who has served in the Mississippi State Senate since 2008. McDaniel was a candidate for United States Senate in 2014, but narrowly lost the Republican nomination to incumbent senator Thad Cochran in a runoff election.
On February 28, 2018, McDaniel announced his intention to campaign for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against incumbent senator Roger Wicker. On March 14, 2018, McDaniel withdrew from challenging Wicker and declared his candidacy in the 2018 U.S. Senate special election after Cochran resigned. He failed to advance to the runoff, winning 16.4% of the vote.
McDaniel was born in Laurel, Mississippi. He is the only child of Carlos and Charlotte McDaniel. He graduated with honors from Jones County Junior College and received a B.S. with honors from William Carey University in 1994. He then entered the University of Mississippi School of Law, graduating cum laude in 1997 with a Juris Doctor degree. McDaniel resides with his family in Ellisville, Mississippi.
In 1997, McDaniel entered a two-year federal clerkship with United States District Court Judge Charles W. Pickering. After leaving that position, he joined the law firm Hortman Harlow Bassi Robinson & McDaniel, becoming a partner in 2003. His areas of concentration include litigation, insurance defense, corporate law, products liability, commercial litigation, consumer products litigation, mass tort litigation, complex multi-party litigation, legislation, Constitutional law, and civil rights. He is licensed to practice law in Mississippi and Texas. In 2010, he was named one of the top 50 lawyers in Mississippi by the Mississippi Business Journal.
McDaniel is the former host of The Right Side Radio Show on WMXI 98.1 FM in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, nationally syndicated since 2006 by EBN Radio Network and Golden Broadcasters. The show was broadcast nationwide on ABC Radio Networks and the industry standard Starguide III system. It returned to local stations after McDaniel left the show.
In 2014, McDaniel ran for the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Thad Cochran. He was vocal about his intention to repeal Obamacare if elected, and to work toward lowering the national debt. The primary was described as a contest between establishment Republicanism and anti-establishment Tea Party Republicanism. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth PAC and the Tea Party Express. In the June 3 Republican primary, McDaniel received 49.6% of the vote and Cochran 49.0%, forcing a June 24 runoff election. McDaniel lost the runoff, 49% to 51%.
In the aftermath, the McDaniel campaign claimed there were indications of voter fraud, and that about 3,300 Democrats had voted for Cochran in the runoff. The campaign said it was investigating whether the crossover voting violated Mississippi law. In a July 2015 fundraising pitch, McDaniel called the runoff election "a sham" and charged that Cochran "stole" the nomination. A day after the election results were certified by the state party, Senator Ted Cruz and some Tea Party groups backed an investigation of supposed voter fraud in the runoff election. Cruz also told reporters that groups aligned with the Cochran campaign had run racially charged ads designed to persuade black voters to vote against McDaniel. Regarding the ads, McDaniel said that the GOP is "a party that does not need to play the race card to win." In July 2014, the Mississippi State Supreme Court rejected McDaniel's request for access to poll books without voters' birthdates blacked out, which his attorneys argued were needed to identify fraudulent votes. In August 2014, a Mississippi judge dismissed McDaniel's challenge. In October 2014, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the lower court's dismissal in a 4-2 decision.
McDaniel originally declared that he would run against Senator Roger Wicker in the 2018 Republican primary. On March 5, 2018, Thad Cochran announced he would resign effective April 1, 2018, due to health concerns. Republican Governor Phil Bryant appointed Cindy Hyde-Smith to fill the vacancy created by Cochran's retirement. A nonpartisan blanket primary to fill the Senate vacancy for the remainder of Cochran's term was scheduled for November 6, 2018. These developments prompted McDaniel to cease his primary challenge to Wicker and instead run in the blanket primary, saying, "by announcing early, we are asking Mississippi Republicans to unite around my candidacy and avoid another contentious contest among GOP members that would only improve the Democrats' chances of winning the open seat." He was the second candidate to enter the race. The first, Democrat Mike Espy, declared his candidacy shortly after Cochran announced his resignation. Hyde-Smith defeated McDaniel in the primary.
As a first-term senator in 2010, McDaniel urged his fellow state senators to override Governor Haley Barbour's veto of eminent domain legislation that would prevent government from taking private land for use by private companies. The override effort failed by two votes, but began a ballot initiative to amend the Mississippi Constitution. The ballot initiative passed the following year.
McDaniel has said of former Attorney General Janet Reno, "I'm not even sure Janet Reno was a woman". He has said that the Democratic Party is the party of "sex on demand, the party that supports the homosexual agenda." On January 22, 2017, McDaniel responded on Facebook to the 2017 Women's March by referring to marchers as "a bunch of unhappy liberal women" and stated that he opposes using federal funds to pay for birth control and abortion.
In 2007, McDaniel's immigration policy, as stated on his website, plagiarized text from a number of anti-immigration groups. McDaniel opposes a pathway to citizenship or temporary work permits for undocumented immigrants. He opposes increases in residency permits and work visas.
In a September 2018 appearance on American Family Radio, in reference to the allegation of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, McDaniel contended that sexual assault allegations "99 percent of the time are just absolutely fabricated." No research supports this claim.
In his 2018 Senate campaign, McDaniel's signature issue was a promise to preserve the flag of Mississippi, which bears the Confederate flag. The flag features on McDaniel's campaign materials. McDaniel has spoken at conferences held by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. In 2006–2007, he made controversial statements on reparations for slavery, race, and women on his talk radio show.
In August 2017, McDaniel claimed on his Twitter account that Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate States Army, was opposed to slavery. (Lee accepted "the extinction of slavery" provided for by the Thirteenth Amendment, but believed slavery was good for black people, publicly opposed racial equality, and opposed granting African Americans the right to vote and other political rights.) McDaniel later defended his views on Lee in a Facebook post that was discovered to have been plagiarized from Dinesh D'Souza.
The website for McDaniel's broadcast show "The Right Side Radio Show" listed the website of the League of the South—a secessionist "Southern Nationalist" organization—as one of his favorite websites. When asked about this in 2018, McDaniel's spokesperson said McDaniel "has never endorsed the League of the South and has nothing to do with them."
far-right challenger, state Sen. Chris McDanielCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
His far-right views have spurred fear among some GOP leaders that he is a liability in the general election.
Asked, for example, about reparations for slavery, McDaniel said: 'If they pass reparations, and my taxes are going up, I ain't paying taxes.' And on having to learn Spanish, he said: 'You'll have to learn just enough to ask where the bathroom is. Baños. Baños. That's what you say.' He also, when asked to translate 'Do you have a sister?' replied, 'What about mamacita? ... Mamacita works....I'm an English-speaking Anglo. I have no idea what it means, actually, but I've said it a few times, just for, you know, fun. And I think it basically means, "Hey, hot mama." Or, you know, "You're a fine looking young thing."'