Democrat Wins Mississippi House Race After Drawing Straw

21 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

By luck of the ‘straw’, Democrat wins Mississippi House race.

To break a tie from a Nov. 3 state House election, 20-year Democratic incumbent Bo Eaton and Republican challenger Mark Tullos met in the governor’s crowded conference room on the 19th floor of a state office building to carry out the archaic procedure prescribed in state law — they drew straws.

Eaton, listed first on the ballot, reached into a red canvas bag and pulled out one of two silver-plated business card boxes engraved with the word “Mississippi.” Tullos pulled out the other padded box, and the two men opened them. The statute’s clear, but my life is not.” According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 24 states legally decide the outcome of tied legislative elections by drawing straws or flipping coins. With his victory, Eaton blocks the GOP from having a supermajority in the House, a three-fifths margin that would have allowed Republicans, in theory, to make multimillion-dollar decisions about taxes without seeking help from Democrats. Tullos said if he lost, he intended to ask the state House of Representatives to seat him as the winner because he questions whether votes were counted fairly.

He chuckled when he was asked if he had a strategy for choosing a box from the bag. “I’m a Southern Baptist, but I have a little bit of Presbyterian — about a quarter’s worth of Presbyterian,” Eaton said in his slow drawl. “So whatever will be, will be.” Certified returns show each candidate received 4,589 votes in the district in south central Mississippi, a part of the state known for oil wells and watermelon fields. An Alaska Mint medallion was used, with a walrus on the “heads” side and the State of Alaska seal — the fancy crest on paper, not the kind of seal that swims — on the “tails” side. Democrats in the current term have blocked Republicans’ efforts to pass hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of tax cuts, arguing instead that Mississippi needs to put more money into chronically underfunded schools. Associated Press writers Becky Bohrer in Juneau, Alaska; Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Susan Haigh in Hartford, Connecticut; and Beth Campbell in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.

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