07/02/2014 05:10 pm ET Updated Jul 02, 2014

Thad Cochran Press Call Turns Into Disaster After Caller Asks About 'Harvested' Black Votes


A press conference call for Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-Miss.) re-election campaign turned into a fiasco on Wednesday when an unidentified caller began asking whether Cochran improperly "harvested" votes from African-Americans like "black people harvesting cotton."

According to several reporters, Austin Barbour, a GOP operative and adviser to Cochran's campaign who was speaking before the interruption, shut down the call after repeated interruptions by the unidentified caller. A shouting match ensued with the remaining callers on the line, and some suggested that either the Cochran campaign had "planted" the question, or perhaps "even Obama" was to blame.

More from reporters on the call:

On Tuesday, Cochran's campaign denied allegations that he bought black votes in the Senate GOP primary runoff against state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who has yet to concede the race. Charles C. Johnson of GotNews.com posted an interview with the Rev. Stevie Fielder earlier this week in which the reverend claimed he was paid to offer black voters $15 each to vote for Cochran. Fielder was compensated for the interview. A Cochran campaign spokesman called the accusations of illegal vote buying "baseless and false."

Johnson urged his followers to join the call and "crash" it on Wednesday.

But he later denied the insinuation that he was the one to ask the question on the call.

Listen to the audio at BusinessInsider.



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