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.
Eaton’s box held the winner – a 3-inch green plastic straw. Tullos’ had a 2-inch red straw.
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.
“There’s always happiness in a good crop year,” Eaton, a farmer from Taylorsville, said after winning.
Tullos showed no emotion. He shook hands with Eaton and left the room without speaking to reporters.
The fight isn’t over. Tullos, an attorney from Raleigh, said before the drawing that if he lost, he intended to ask the House to seat him in January as the winner because he questions whether votes were counted fairly. He had already filed an appeal by Friday.