House District 79 tiebreaker could be decided next week

JACKSON, Miss.–The 50–50 shot to win House District 79 could be reversed, but the back and forth over which votes should count continues.

WJTV’s Lucy Dieckhaus was at the hearing today as a house committee heard from lawyers on both sides.

Some tense moments followed by quiet from everyone else as lawyers fought for an election that many thought had been decided when Democrat Bo Eaton drew the long straw and Republican Mark Tullos, the shorter one.

“I have two good lawyers and a long green straw, and whatever decision they make i am willing to take that as far as the presentation of what is legal and what is not legal. I also have full faith and credit in the committee process,” said Eaton.

“And there never should have been a drawing of straws and that is why i went and filed my petition to challenge the election before we drew the straws. I said it from day one since it was certified as a tie it should not have been a tie,” said Tullos.

At issue – a couple dozen affidavit ballots, nine were initially counted, but arguments continue about the rest of the votes and even those nine votes that were counted.

Tullos says five out of the nine affidavit votes that counted, shouldn’t have been.

“Those 5 affidavit ballots should not  be counted because the voter did not take it upon themselves to change their voter registration,” said Tullos.

But Democratic committee member, Linda Coleman, disagrees.

“I am going to lodge my objection to considering any of these affidavit ballots,” said Coleman.

“The committee has not decided to consider that or not but the record has been made with regards to that information,” said committee chairman Mark Baker.

One thing the men agree on — they both want the law changed.

But for now, the idea of a new election does not sit well with Tullos, he believes it will cost too much, but says he will go through with it if that’s what the house decides.

“Yes, I would but what happens if there is another tie?,” said Tullos.

For now Bo Eaton is representing the district but if Tullos wins, that would give republicans the last seat they need for a supermajority.

The hearing will continue Tuesday, and decision is expected next week.  We will continue to follow this story.


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