Left-out Eaton Would Make Democrats the Left-out Party

Yum. Post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.

Sometimes the leftovers can be as good, if not better, than the main course.

Kinda like our Republican presidential contest. Sometimes the left-outs can be as good, if not better, than the frontrunners.

Have you bothered, lately, to listen to left-out-of-the-last-primetime-debate candidate Gov. Chris Christie? He’s been very impressive.

Speaking of left-outs, the money is clearly on long-straw winner Rep. Bo Eaton getting left out when the Legislature convenes in January. Incumbent Democrat Eaton beat Republican challenger Mark Tullos by drawing the long straw after the two tied for the District 79 House seat. State law required a winner to be determined by lot. However, the House has a process to choose whomever it wants when an election gets challenged. Tullos challenged the results, claiming a number of votes suddenly appeared to pull Eaton into a tie. Note, these are claims; no evidence of hanky-panky by Jasper or Smith County election officials has surfaced yet. The House, of course, will be more dominated than ever by Republicans. The overwhelming expectation is, evidence of voting irregularities surfacing or not, that House Republicans will ignore the long straw of the law and seat Tullos. Eaton had said he would abide by the straw drawing. Tullos, with GOP powers drooling over adding him to their majority, said he would not and did not.

Seating Tullos will make Democrats the left-out party when it comes to running state government. Their last vestige of strength was the ability to block revenue, tax, and bond bills in the House. Seating Tullos will give Republicans a 74 to 48 majority in the House. Coupled with their existing majority of 32 to 20 in the Senate, Republicans will have over the 60% super majority required to pass revenue, tax, and bond bills.  (The Public Service Commission Democrats now dominate has little to do with running state government.)

Probably left-out is Republican Senator and Tea Party favorite Melanie Sojourner. She is contesting her loss to former Sen. Bob Dearing. Even if she fails, the Republican majority in the Senate will remain 32 to 20.

Definitely left-out is long-time Democratic Representative, House minority leader, and Republican barb Bobby Moak, defeated by GOP challenger Vince Mangold.

As for statewide offices, Republicans have dominated them since 2008, holding seven of eight positions – governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, agriculture and commerce commissioner, and insurance commissioner. The only statewide office held by a Democrat is attorney general.

This Republican dominance of state government is relatively new. Through the 1987 elections Republicans were the left-outs. Then, in 1991 Kirk Fordice and Eddie Briggs became the first Republicans since Reconstruction to break Democrat dominance of statewide elections, winning the governor and lieutenant governor races. It took another decade for Republicans to take over the Senate and a second decade to take over the House.

Interesting stuff, but not as appealing as leftover turkey sandwiches.

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