Mississippi Republicans may NOT get their 74-seat supermajority in the House of Representatives. The GOP lost that advantage over a simple game of chance.
"Gentlemen, would you open the box."
The conference room at the Governor's office in Jackson was filled to the brim Friday afternoon, as state officials, family and press gathered to watch one of the more unusual events in the state's political history.
To break a tie for House District 79, which covers parts of Smith and Jasper counties, Democratic incumbent Bo Eaton and his challenger, Republican Mark Tullos had to draw straws to determine the winner.
Each candidate reached into a red canvas bag and pulled out a silver, engraved, business card holder. The box containing the winning three-inch green straw went to Eaton.
Eaton says he's pleased with the results.
"I had a 50/50 chance to win," says Eaton, "and I won. I complied with the law. I guess it was in the farmer/agriculture sense 'I had a good crop year."
But this may not be the end of the race. Challenger Mark Tullos has already filed paperwork asking the Republican-controlled House to declare him the winner because he questions whether actual votes were counted fairly.
"Right now I don't want to give any statements," Tullos says. "Let me speak with my attorney. Then at some point in time, I will release a statement. I've already filed my challenge, filed it yesterday."
The 2016 legislative session begins January 4th.