Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mark Tullos Should Concede or MSGOP Should Fund the Special Election for Contested House Race

The House race between Democrat Bo Eaton and Republican Mark Tullos was a tie and was then supposed to be decided by drawing straws. There is actually a state law that requires that tied elections be decided that way.

The story from Mississippi Business Journal:
  • A Mississippi House committee meets Tuesday to start discussing a contested race that went to a drawing of straws for a tiebreaker. House Speaker Philip Gunn appointed a panel of four Republicans and one Democrat to hear the petition filed by Republican challenger Mark Tullos of Raleigh.
    Tullos and five-term Democratic Rep. Bo Eaton of Taylorsville each received 4,589 votes in the Nov. 3 election in Smith and Jasper counties, and Eaton won a drawing of straws Nov. 20.
    Tullos is asking the Republican-majority House to seat him as the District 79 representative for the four-year term that begins in January. In his petition, Tullos says the Smith County election commission improperly met in secret on Nov. 9 to discuss some affidavit ballots, then held a public meeting the next day to count those ballots.
    If Tullos is eventually declared the winner, Republicans would hold a three-fifths supermajority in the House. That would mean Republicans, voting together, could pass tax and revenue bills without seeking help from Democrats.

Tullos and Eaton both showed up to draw straws. Tullos lost. Now the contest goes to the state House.

  • According to House rules, the committee could make one of three recommendations to the full House after the session begins: Declare Eaton the winner, declare Tullos the winner or declare that the seat is open, which would lead to a special election.

Republicans need Tullos to help them get a super majority. But I cannot side with them on this. The rules were established beforehand and both candidates seemed to agree to the terms of the election process. Tullos should have conceded. At best, now, the right thing would be for the House to call for another election. That's more expense and time, but rather then appointing a winner it would be more equitable and fair. Under the circumstance, I would bill the Mississippi Republican Party for the extra expense.