- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi House on Wednesday dismissed a candidate’s request to unseat longtime Democratic Rep. David Myers of McComb, but a legal fight over the legislative seat continues.

The House voted unanimously to toss out the challenge filed by Tasha Dillon of McComb. She filed a petition several weeks ago saying that results of the Aug. 4 Democratic primary should be invalidated because of what she says were voting irregularities such as Myers, his campaign workers and his relatives standing too close to polling places.

Dillon filed a lawsuit in Pike County Circuit Court in September to try to overturn her 144-vote loss to Myers. Judge James Bell dismissed her suit in October and said any election contest should be decided by the House.

Republican Rep. Mark Baker of Brandon is chairman of a House committee assigned to consider two election disputes. He said this week that the House has no power to handle a dispute about a party primary.

No Republican or independent candidate ran in the District 98 House race in Pike and Walthall counties last year, so the winner of the Democratic primary between Myers and Dillon also won the general election.

Baker said elections could become particularly messy if a candidate who loses a party primary waits several months to try to overturn the primary if there is also a general election opponent.

“The chaos that would ensue from that would be substantial,” Baker told the House on Wednesday.

Based on a recommendation from Baker’s committee, the House dismissed Dillon’s petition.

However, Dillon is still asking a judge to unseat Myers and declare her the winner in District 98 for the four-year term. It was not immediately clear when she might receive a hearing.

Myers said in December that he won the election fairly and Dillon’s allegations are “totally, totally false.” He was sworn in for his sixth term Tuesday, the first day of the legislative session.

Speaking of Dillon’s continuing challenge in court, Myers said Tuesday: “We shouldn’t be kicking that can down the road.”

Dillon, who also was at the Capitol when Baker’s committee met, said she hopes a judge accepts her arguments.

“Kick the can up the road,” said Dillon, who also lost to Myers in 2011. “We’ll see you up the road.”

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Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .


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