State, nation see election drama
The drama of the George Bush-Al Gore presidential election late in 2000 was foreshadowed by post-election-day uncertainty in Mississippi.
In November 1999, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove edged Republican Mike Parker by 8,000 votes but it was not enough to claim a majority.
Thus the election was thrown to the Mississippi House of Representatives. After two months of intense media attention, the House elected Musgrove with an 86-36 vote in January 2000.
Ten months after that House vote, the nation found itself in a similar position on Nov. 7 when Gore beat Bush in the popular vote but did not win the electoral college vote.
That vote hinged on the state of Florida, where Bush won by a thin margin that was quickly challenged when Gore requested a recount. The election was not decided until Dec. 12, when the Supreme Court of the United States stopped that recount.
Also in 2000:
- Searchers gathered to look for Dorsey teen Lisa Gray, who had disappeared on June 22. A day later, her body was found in what turned out to be a deadly kidnapping and sexual assault. She was one seven people murdered in just under 60 days. The violence also included a double murder-suicide at Tupelo Regional Airport July 9 when Charlotte McLaughlin Collins and Dr. Nelson Apostol were shot by Collins’ estranged husband, Bill Collins, who then took his own life.
- The Mississippi flag came under much scrutiny, setting the stage for a referendum on it in 2001. In May, Musgrove created a commission to study the flag after the state Supreme Court determined that it had not been officially adopted since 1906. Five public hearings were volatile, as was debate in both houses of the Legislature.
- High temperatures and little rainfall led to October fires in Northeast Mississippi. The region lost 6,000 acres, more than half of the state’s total loss during the month. Rainfall totals from January to October were down more than 14 inches, and temperatures reached as high as 106 degrees in August.
- Harry Martin stepped down after 45 years as head of the Community Development Foundation. He was replaced by David Rumbarger, the CEO of economic consulting firm Conway Data.
- Mississippi State’s football team defeated then-No. 3 Florida 47-35 en route to an 8-4 season and an Independence Bowl victory over Texas A&M. For Ole Miss, a season that began with Deuce McAllister’s Heisman campaign ended with freshman Eli Manning throwing for three late touchdowns in a Music City Bowl loss to West Virginia.
Take a look back at the last decade each day in the NEMS Daily Journal newspaper and NEMS360.com
Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal