Wooten Apparent Winner Over Reeves ... Again | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Wooten Apparent Winner Over Reeves ... Again

As the Jackson Free Press went to the printer Tuesday night, Democrat Adrienne Wooten was poised to win the re-vote election demanded by District 71 incumbent Rep. John Reeves. If Wooten wins, it will be another vote to keep House Speaker Billy McCoy in place, as Reeves had pledged in a campaign letter after the general election that he would vote against McCoy if he was re-elected.

But Reeves is still not content to give up the seat, according to The Clarion-Ledger Tuesday night. He again plans to challenge Wooten's victory and has filed a petition with the House of Representatives, as has Wooten, to get fellow legislators to decide who gets the high-profile seat when the Legislature re-convenes in January.

At the beginning of the session, the House will vote for speaker, who assigns chairmanships and decides the political tone of the House. Gov. Haley Barbour and his supporters have targeted McCoy's seat because he is viewed as too progressive.

Wooten is backing McCoy, but Republican incumbent John Reeves says he is committed to Republican-backed Democrat Jeff Smith. Reeves' letter promised a vote for Smith if he is elected.

The defeat of McCoy would mean the Democrats would lose an edge in deciding the shape of House districts following the 2010 census. It would also mean Republican power would be sealed in not only the governor's office and the Senate, but also in the House—a situation comparable on the national level to the first term of president George Bush.

Both McCoy and Smith claim the race is close, and a vote for either coming out of District 71 could be a deciding factor.

"It is reported that the Speaker's race turns on just one vote. I have committed to vote for Rep. Jeff Smith for Speaker. The values that you and I share will be best promoted under Jeff Smith," Reeves said in a statement.

Reeves told the Jackson Free Press that his commitment to Smith has nothing to do with trying to win the re-vote.

"I've been Jeff Smith's desk mate for 16 years, and we've become close personal friends. I know his family real well, his children and his wife and he knows my family real well, my children, my wife, and I have come to respect him as a father, as a Christian man and a moral person and a man who believes in good government," Reeves said.

Reeves added that Jackson needs his experience to have a voice in the Legislature.

"This city and my community needs my seniority and experience now more than ever. It will be a terrible loss to this area if I lose this race, because seniority and experience is what gets legislation passed, not mouthing off at press conferences and not reducing everything to personal vendettas … and race," Reeves said.

Reeves and Wooten have been knocking heads since the November election, with Reeves calling for a revote because of voter irregularities in four precincts after Wooten drew only a couple hundred more votes than he did. Reeves' district is split, with some precincts offering two different ballots featuring different politician's names. Reeves complained that poll workers directed some voters to ballots that did not contain him as a voting option.

The Republican, who has held the seat since 1984, also said Precinct 92 used the wrong voter roll and turned some voters away when their names didn't appear.

The Hinds County Election Committee voted 5-to-1 to hold a re-vote after taking Reeves' argument under consideration, but Wooten filed a motion with Hinds County Circuit Court, asking the court to press the committee to certify her as the winner in the November race.

Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Winston Kidd granted a writ of mandamus last week to Wooten and compelled the Hinds County Election Commission to cancel the re-vote, certify the results of the Nov. 6 election and acknowledge Wooten as the winner.

Reeves responded by filing an emergency petition in Mississippi Supreme Court, asking it to overrule Kidd's decision. Supreme Court Presiding Justice Oliver Diaz granted Reeves' emergency petition and reversed Kidd's decision.

Wooten did not return calls.

Donna Ladd contributed to this report.

Previous Comments

ID
97645
Comment

The winner will be the one who'll support the "correct" candidate for speaker of the house.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-12-19T08:20:48-06:00
ID
97646
Comment

(hit the wrong key) it certainly won't be anyone who has to sit through another episode of this soap opera.

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-12-19T08:22:57-06:00
ID
97647
Comment

Good. I hope she can win round 3 too.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2007-12-19T08:54:55-06:00
ID
97648
Comment

I glad she wone and hopefully either Reeves will withdraw his challenge or the House will back her as the winner. Also surprised the JFP did a last minute flip-flop to endorse Wooten.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-12-19T09:11:27-06:00
ID
97649
Comment

If this special election was run as well as the last one any court would be stupid to endorse or certify it. I am a political science professor and have been involved with and studying elections for nearly 20 years. I was at the courthouse all day for the last election. I can tell you with no reservation that elections are handled better in any Latin American country than they are in Hinds county. The elections are not fixed; the administration of the election is absurdly incompetent. The US Justice Department probably needs to oversee future elections. It is that serious.

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2007-12-19T09:24:42-06:00
ID
97650
Comment

What is this really about? Is Reeves having a hard time accepting the idea that District 71 is ready for change? I mean dude you did 24 years in this seat. Stop with this sad display. If I've ever seen a sore looser this is him. Adrienne has already prooven that she's the better person for the job by endulging in this farce. He needs to just be a man and accept defeat.

Author
Queen601
Date
2007-12-19T10:04:46-06:00
ID
97651
Comment

Amen, Queen. He doesn't own the district or seat, and the district decides whether it wants to keep his service, no matter the extent of his past service, be it good, bad or indifferent. Politicans can never forget this. The real test or tell-all of a man is not where he stands in good times, but where he stands in times of challenge. This I think explains why the JFP switched to Wooten.

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2007-12-19T10:29:01-06:00
ID
97652
Comment

Letter to John Reeves Dear John, It has been a pleasure knowing that you have served in the House of Representatives for the last twenty-four years. Although I don not live in your district I cannot help myself in sending you this letter. It pains me to know that you refuse to leave when the people of District 71 have asked you respectfully to leave. What is the problem? Are you deaf? Surely, after all of the education you have received throughout the years you can differentiate between someone asking you to stay or leave. Mr. Reeves, Please, no wait in the words of Martin Lawrence " GET TO STEPPIN"

Author
Bell
Date
2007-12-19T10:36:56-06:00
ID
97653
Comment

Most incumbent politicians feel a sense of entitlement to their office after years of being re-elected. It happens to even the “best” of them, and if Wooten holds the office long enough she will become just like the rest in that aspect. I don’t blame Reeves for challenging such a close election with questions about the split precincts; he isn’t the first politician to challenge election results and he won’t be the last. Politics is a contact sport and while he ran a good clean campaign the truth is the demographics of his district have changed dramatically over the last decade, making it much, much tougher for a Republican to convince voters that he represented their best interests in the Legislature (one of his ads acknowledged that fact). Given the choice between a black Democrat and a white Republican, especially with the strong distaste black folk have for Republicans based on their past indifference to minorities, his time in office was short anyway. Based on what my wife tells me, Wooten is an intelligent young woman who I believe will be a fine representative and will serve the duties of her office as well or better than Reeves.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-12-19T10:48:27-06:00
ID
97654
Comment

I wouldn't call it a flip-flop, Jeff. I would call it changing our mind based on new information. When our edit board endorsed Reeves the first time, I had reservations about his long-term record. However, the board felt very strongly that Jackson needed a strong advocate in there with seniority, and bipartisan connections, in these dark Meltonian times. It was very important to us that Reeves did not seem to be kowtowing to Barbour's every whim. However, seeing that letter promising a vote against McCoy if re-elected changed that. Sure, he might have voted against McCoy, but using that as a carrot to get support in such a blatant way did not sit right with me. I feel strongly that not changing an endorsement based on new information—such as we also did after seeing David Blount's awful anti-immigrant mailers—would be irresponsible. And if taking an honest approach is seen as flip-flopping, so be it. My conscience is clear. At this point, I tend to agree that Reeves needs to show some of that class that has impressed even many of us progressives and go home even though it was close. It's hard to lose a seat, I'm sure, and I feel compassion for him. But Wooten has beaten him twice now in close elections, and he should start thinking about his political future and not alienating political voters for refusing to concede. Even if the Barbour Machine is telling him not to give up.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T10:56:09-06:00
ID
97655
Comment

Bell, you said it. My version was similar: Dear Mr. Reeves: You know, I don't know you from Adam's housecat, and I didn't have a dog in this race. But your recent actions make you look like a sore loser, and that if you don't win, you'll take your toys and go home. The votes are in. You lost. Get used to it. Save some face and respect and go quietly and gracefully. Take your toys and go if you must: but just go. Thanks.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2007-12-19T11:44:33-06:00
ID
97656
Comment

Congratulations Mrs. Wooten! I believe that you will represent ALL of the people in your District and that you will continue to be the honest, intelligent, fair and energetic person you have always been. This election X 2 was decided by a simple majority. The margin could have been One (1) vote. Wooten had this. Let us move on and take care of the business of MS.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-12-19T11:53:39-06:00
ID
97657
Comment

OK, I'm confused. Right now, The Ledge's front-page headline says that Wooten has won by 166 votes. But if you click "more," it says that she is up by 18 votes in that story. This new Ledger site is a freakin' disaster. Any site they've had in the past made more sense then this one. I can't imagine they are not going to lose Web readers with this re-design.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T11:54:53-06:00
ID
97658
Comment

I agree with the Lady and Justjess: Reeves is in danger of losing political strength for the future if he fights this out, looking like he think he has the right to the seat. He has a great deal of bipartisan respect; he needs to respect that and go figure out what to run for in the future, not alienate voters by looking like a sore loser. I can understand why he wasn't happy about some of the problems in the first election, but at this stage he's going to look really bad if he continues to fight to keep Rep.-elect Wooten out of the House of Representatives. He needs to concede graciously and like a gentleman to her and then start thinking about the future.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T11:58:15-06:00
ID
97659
Comment

OK, I'm confused. Right now, The Ledge's front-page headline says that Wooten has won by 166 votes. But if you click "more," it says that she is up by 18 votes in that story. I assumed that the overall vote total, including the 18 picked up yesterday, gave Wooten the win by 166 votes over Reeves. But I could be reading it wrong. Reeves should definitely concede this one now. But the larger issue based on the reports of voter confusion in both elections is whether these split precincts are the real problem. Is there a history of problems like this at similar districts?

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-12-19T12:26:12-06:00
ID
97660
Comment

And how much can be blamed on the local election commission? Were voters given enough information in advance on precinct locations and district lines prior to either election?

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2007-12-19T12:29:23-06:00
ID
97661
Comment

Agreed. We need to look at it closer.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T12:37:05-06:00
ID
97662
Comment

But the larger issue based on the reports of voter confusion in both elections is whether these split precincts are the real problem. Is there a history of problems like this at similar districts? -jeff lucas And how much can be blamed on the local election commission? Were voters given enough information in advance on precinct locations and district lines prior to either election? -jeff lucas these questions are important but they miss a major point...were these problems non-existent while reeves was winning for the past 24 years...see one cannot complain and cry when the rules one uses to win are used in ones defeat... i would not give wooten this win just yet...i remember when these nutjob republicans were saying how foul it was when gore protested the results...now look at reeves...maybe mississippi is changing...maybe...unlikely...but maybe...

Author
skipp
Date
2007-12-19T13:22:20-06:00
ID
97663
Comment

The CL created this query deliberately. I guess this is their way of seducing people into buying a paper. It is also sour grapes for the CL. The total from the re-vote in the 4 precincts was added to the existing total from all of the others.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-12-19T14:17:52-06:00
ID
97664
Comment

Explain what you mean, justjess. I'm confused by all this, and too busy with other things to sort it out myself. So, help!

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T15:08:45-06:00
ID
97665
Comment

OK, now they're saying this: Political newcomer Adrienne Wooten beat longtime Jackson lawmaker John Reeves by 174 votes total in Hinds County. In a special election held Tuesday, Wooten garnered 18 more votes than Reeves. All affidavit ballots have been reviewed. If correct, and I never assume that with the Ledger, this makes more sense than the earlier mess of words they printed. So she could have drawn fewer votes than he did yesterday and still won the election, right? I also agree that the Ledger has adopted a certain disrespectful tone in this toward her—she is the "newcomer," and he is the "longtime" legislator. Wouldn't most challengers of an incumbent legislators be "newcomers"? What's this about? Betcha money if their gender/race demographic was reversed, the language would be different here. This is what Harvey Johnson meant, I think, when he talked about the institutional racism that still permeates the way the Ledger does things, despite the individuals who do it. And there is NO QUESTION that they are extremely institutionally sexist. They don't even seem to think they need to hide it. Just go look at the gender of the columnists and what they write about. Also, note that the Ledger are putting "by" on some of the author bylines now and not others. Sigh.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T15:16:08-06:00
ID
97666
Comment

Sid Salter is also calling for Reeves to bow out gracefully: Reeves has served honorably for 24 years and has represented Hinds County well. But after two bites at the apple, the voters still turned him out. It's time for Reeves to walk out with his head high and accept this defeat with dignity. Split precincts are inherently unfair, but they are unfair to voters across the board and not merely to voters predisposed to vote for a white Republican conservative. Ms. Wooten has been elected. That's the reality of this and the current Speaker's race in the House makes Reeves' chances at salvation in that venue decidedly poor.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T15:56:11-06:00
ID
97667
Comment

Salter is also a democrat. Naturally, he'd call for Reeve's head on a platter for daring to stand up for his rights again and again and again...

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-12-19T16:10:50-06:00
ID
97668
Comment

I though it was republicans who were found to use morality and values as their calling card and yet be found nearly unanimously not to possess any. When you have something you don't have to advertise it. If Salter is a Democrat then that makes him all the more believable and credible, and he doesn't have to preface his remarks by saying he has values and morals. Perhaps Reeves is saying to the republican party that if y'all can steal two national elections why can't y'all steal one local one for me! More than likely he's now saying, "steal an election for me. You've done it before."

Author
Ray Carter
Date
2007-12-19T16:27:03-06:00
ID
97669
Comment

Who said he's a Democrat? If he is, he sure is a Barbour toe-kissin' Democrat!?! Seriously, is he on record somewhere as a Democrat?

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T16:27:15-06:00
ID
97670
Comment

Donna: Seriously, I have no clue. I've just gathered from over the years he's a typical Mississippi Democrat. I define those as inheriting their party affiliation genetically, rather than by any logical thought. It would make a lot of sense, however. I don't support Barbour in the slightest and condemn him often for being the Lobbyists and Tobacco Companies Governor, which doesn't make me much of a Republican sometimes. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-12-19T16:45:23-06:00
ID
97671
Comment

I define those as inheriting their party affiliation genetically, rather than by any logical thought. And, hon, just exactly what is the difference between a typical Mississippi Democrat and a typical Mississippi Republican? Sounds to me like you're defining the Repubs there. Imagine life at our house, guys... :D

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2007-12-19T16:48:18-06:00
ID
97672
Comment

And, hon, just exactly what is the difference between a typical Mississippi Democrat and a typical Mississippi Republican? MD's (Miss Dem's) came into this state via migration ages before the MR's (Miss Repub's) did. Due to inbreeding and very little cross pollination, however, both species are, via a variety of environmental factors, beginning to look too much alike. Life at our place isn't dull, I guarantee. :)

Author
Ironghost
Date
2007-12-19T16:52:30-06:00
ID
97673
Comment

Imagine life at our house, guys... :D All I have to say is, just don't hit below the belt. LOL

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2007-12-19T16:55:51-06:00
ID
97674
Comment

Correction: leave the Mississippi part out of it. It's just typical Democrat and typical Republican.

Author
Lady Havoc
Date
2007-12-19T17:10:16-06:00
ID
97675
Comment

I am going to stir the pot a bit. I propose it makes no difference who is the representative in District 71. I grew up in that district; it has been declining slightly for each of the past 30 years. One could probably argue that the time right before the Candlestick Tornado was its peak. Raw numbers of people have increased but not per-capita income or development.

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2007-12-19T17:34:41-06:00
ID
97676
Comment

Wille, it does strike me that this fight isn't a whole lot about that district, I'll give you that. And I feel some compassion for Reeves in this because I suspect he's under a lot of pressure not to let that seat go. With the redistricting issue ahead, a lot could be/is at stake, that even filters out to the national political scene. But I really think he made a mistake with that power-play in that letter promising the vote against McCoy. Vote against him, but don't make it a centerpiece in what looked like a desperation play. That is in high contrast to the independence we've seen him show in recent years. Seeing that letter was downright shocking to me because he seemed to be thumbing his nose at the support he's gotten because he's willing to rise about a certain partisan fray. And I agree with Iron that the parties in the state are looking a whole lot alike. I frankly don't know why anyone would choose a partisan path. I've never been able to, even when I lean more toward the supposedly platform of one party or the other. I just can't do partisanship, though. It's not in my constitution. That means I often end up in a position where people of both parties are mad at me. I've seen Sid say that means you're doing something right as a journalist -- I agree with him IF what you're doing is backed up by hard, cold facts and independent decision-making. That was not the case with him/the Ledger on tort reform or a number of issues involving Barbour. But, overall, he certainly shows an independent streak. Iron, you probably just focus on different issues than I do when assuming he's a Democrat. And hell, he's about as Democratic as anyone running the state party, so I'll give you those two points. I just hate parties and the two-party system. And it just doesn't work for America or Americans. That's why so many of us refuse to identify with a party -- we have to sell too big a chunk of our soul to do it, or pledge blind loyalty even in the face of immigrant-bashing or governor-pandering. And I won't, and neither will the JFP, and except for a few whiners, our readers are loving that. Non-partisans—the majority—love independent thinking, although it sure does piss off the loyalists. Someone wrote me an e-mail today complaining that I changed our endorsement of Reeves yesterday, and how wrong that is. How can that be? Are we such political animals that we are not supposed to change our minds when presented with new information or evidence??? That sounds pretty old Mississippi to me, and I'll have none of it—just as I won't support a Democrat who tries to appeal to racist or xenophobic instincts, either. Life's too short not to stand for something that matters, whether it's treating immigrants like human beings, or trying to keep national machine politics from taking over our state in a wholesale way. To me, it's not about helping Wooten get that 18 votes, or whatever, it's about standing up, and against, what we believe is right. Regardless of party. And them there chips can fall where they may.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T19:24:08-06:00
ID
97677
Comment

Ladd, you are on track. Remember, the Federalist Papers argued very strongly that parties (factions) would destroy the republic. My main concern with this issue, as I have posted before, is the incompetence of election adminsitration in this state. We simply cannot trust the election returns. And with that, we are ALL disenfranchised.

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2007-12-19T20:44:35-06:00
ID
97678
Comment

Yep, I agree, Wille. What can we do? Seriously.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-12-19T21:12:47-06:00
ID
97679
Comment

Reeves has lost On a personal note I celebrate. I object to much of his politics, but he was a decent steward of the district, but not one they wanted and not a true representative. As a person... He was the reason people HATE lawyers, and I say that as one that opposed him. He had ZERO professionalism in the court room, personally attacked opponents and attacked utterly opposing council in an utterly unprofessional manner It should be noted a judge called me sidebar after 2 objections to throw him off track that "He can't handle objections, quit messing with him and let him get through this. You are picking on him. (This was my 2nd hearing and I had passed the bar 2 months prior) To wrap up. As a lawyer, average at best and a JERK with no professionalism. Now that he is grasping at straws to keep his seat, I expect no more than what I have seen from him; he will lie, whine, and deny everything. He even claimed to not understand the order the judge ordered him to write,and then claimed she really meant something else once he advised his client to violate it. He is the person I never want to be. I would rather be flipping burgers with a Law degree than have his motivation and reputation

Author
AGamm627
Date
2007-12-20T00:11:28-06:00
ID
97680
Comment

I think those of us that are concerned about the misadminstration of our democracy (i.e. elections!) need to consider running for the election commission. I am giving it thought.

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2007-12-20T10:07:47-06:00
ID
97681
Comment

Willezurmacht, your running for election commission might be a great idea; however, I have one question: Where were you and your protest in past elections. Was it that your candidate won or is it only when a Dem. defeats a Repub. that you take issue? Did Haley Barbour really beat John Eaves? Just asking.

Author
justjess
Date
2007-12-20T11:44:53-06:00
ID
97682
Comment

He was counting Chads in Florida

Author
Bell
Date
2007-12-20T12:09:03-06:00
ID
97683
Comment

That is offensive. I have never even voted for a republican in my life. My form of protest in past elections has been expert testimony and research into systematic voter disenfranchisement and voter intimidation. I first became a great supporter of election reform when Al Gore essentially rolled over in the face of repubican judicial intimidation and let down the 51,003,926 people who voted for him (including me). No one should lose their vote because of incompetence and/or fraud. Anyone that wants to compare resumes on direct political action is free to email me at tougaloo.

Author
Willezurmacht
Date
2007-12-20T17:23:39-06:00
ID
97684
Comment

Wow it was just a joke

Author
Bell
Date
2007-12-20T18:03:18-06:00

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