The Latest: Democrat picks green straw, wins tie election

AP News
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Posted: Nov 20, 2015 3:43 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The latest on a Mississippi state House election that was decided by drawing straws (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

To break a tie in a House election, a Democrat and a Republican reached into a red canvas bag and each plucked out a silver-plated business card box.

Republican Mark Tullos chose the box with the short, 2-inch red straw. Democrat Bo Eaton picked the one with the longer, 3-inch green straw, giving him the victory.

Eaton, a farmer and 20-year incumbent smiled and said: "There's always happiness in a good crop year."

Tullos didn't show any emotion. Before the drawing, he said he would protest the results if he lost. He left the crowded conference room without talking to reporters.

He had already filed an appeal Friday, saying he questions whether votes from the Nov. 3 election were counted fairly.

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2 p.m.

A Democrat has won an election tiebreaker in Mississippi by drawing a big green straw from a bag.

Bo Eaton, a 20-year incumbent, defeated Republican challenger Mark Tullos in the drawing Friday in the governor's office.

Eaton, a farmer from Taylorsville, said before the drawing that he would accept the result. Tullos, an attorney from Raleigh, said he would accept it only if he won.

Tullos said if he lost, he intended to ask the House to seat him as the winner because he questions whether votes were counted fairly.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says 24 states have laws that say a tied legislative election is decided by drawing straws or by flipping a coin.

Eaton's win blocks the GOP from having a supermajority in the state House, which would have allowed, among other things, to let Republicans make decisions about taxes without seeking help from Democrats.