Update, 7:59 p.m.: Scott Brewster, a top-level McDaniel campaign staffer, was among those in the courthouse. That story is here.
Central Mississippi Tea Party President Janis Lane gained access to to the Hinds County Courthouse after poll workers left Tuesday night, Jackson Jambalaya reports.
Reports say Lane was joined by two others, who have not been identified.
The women entered the courthouse around 2 a.m. Poll workers and election commissioners left by 11:30 p.m. and did not return until 8 a.m.
According to reports, the three women entered via a side door that had been left propped open. As Jackson Jambalaya writes:
They accidentally (you can’t make this up) closed the door behind themselves and were thus locked in the building. The ballot boxes were locked in the vault and were not compromised. HCSO became aware of the invasion when a person notified deputies that they were locked in the building and could not leave.
Lane called Hinds County Republican Executive Chairman Pete Perry to tell him she was locked in. Perry called the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department.
“I don’t care who it is, I have a concern with someone being in the courthouse with all the election material down there,” Perry told the Clarion-Ledger.
Lane, who served as a precinct worker, dropped her materials off and left at 8:30 p.m., WAPT reports.
In April, Lane, a supporter of State Senator Chris McDaniel’s bid for Senator Thad Cochran’s U.S. Senate seat, called on Mississippi Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef to resign after he criticized McDaniel and the Tea Party.
Cochran led McDaniel in Hinds County with 65.7% to McDaniel’s 33.8%. With with the statewide margin between McDaniel and Cochran razor-thin, Hinds is significant because it was the only county with outstanding ballots as of 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, with 96.6% reporting.
Statewide, McDaniel leads Cochran 49.5% to 49%. If neither candidate reaches 50%, they will face each other in a runoff in three weeks.
This would not be the first time Lane made headlines. She made national news in 2012 when she said women should not have the right to vote.