White GOP Rep Who Lost to Black Dem Wants Election Overturned

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A white woman who lost her Mississippi House of Representatives seat to a black woman challenger is asking the Republican-dominated body to overturn the election results.

On Dec. 4, House District 40 Rep. Ashley Henley, the incumbent, filed a petition with the Mississippi House of Representatives' clerk, contesting her 14-vote loss to Democrat Hester Jackson-McCray, who is African American. In her complaint, Henley cites technical errors, including DeSoto County election officials' failure to staple a list of voter signatures to the voter receipt book and incorrect dates listed on some documents. She also accuses 11 voters of "voter fraud," claiming they do not live in the district.

"Hester ran an honest and fair election. She won fair and square. ... Her opponent does not say she did anything unfair, and yet they are trying to take this historic win from her," Kelly Jacobs, one of Jackson-McCray's campaign advisers, told the Jackson Free Press Monday morning.

Jackson-McCray's win in November marked the first time an African American woman had won a House or Senate seat in North Mississippi's DeSoto County. The district is situated within the Memphis suburbs.

'I'm Worried That This Is All About Race'

Jacobs said she does not consider Henley's challenge legitimate, but is nevertheless concerned that the House, where the Republican Party holds a supermajority, could overturn the results anyway.

"I do not see the Republican Party as being a group that stands up for what is fair. So I'm worried that this is all about race," said Jacobs, who is white. "The black woman beat the white woman. And we can't have that. So we've got to overturn the election and give it to the white girl. I don't see her having any argument for why she should be declared the winner."

Henley's complaint alleges multiple technical errors in ballot counting, including two

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