By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Nov. 6, 2002
JACKSON A sea of red balloons floated overhead, television lights flooded the room and a disc jockey played "We are Family" as Ronnie Shows headed to the podium Tuesday night to concede the race.
The longtime Democrat appeared exhausted as he spoke to a small crowd of about 100 family members, friends, supporters and the media gathered at the Cabot Lodge in Jackson.
The ever-competitive Shows, a former high school teacher and basketball coach, waited late into the night to concede victory to his GOP opponent Chip Pickering in the 3rd District U.S. House race.
Shows has spent the past four years representing the 4th Congressional District. But when the state lost one of its five U.S. House seats, Shows found himself pitted against Pickering.
Shows hit the campaign running a race that abruptly ended Tuesday night when he used a hotel room phone to call Pickering after the Republican soundly won the newly redrawn 3rd District seat.
Many of Shows' supporters, who sat with their eyes fixed on the election results scrolling across several televisions, blamed the loss on the way the 3rd District was drawn.
Shows, though, was reluctant to blame his loss on a congressional district drawn by a panel of federal judges.
Shows' father, Clifford, had a different take.
Other supporters complained about the lack of funds needed to mount a more effective race against a well-financed Republican.
Shows, though, said he is just happy to have had the chance to serve in Congress.
Shows declined to talk about his future including if he will run in next year's statewide elections. Shows had previously served in the state Senate and on the state Transportation Commission.
If he does run, many Shows' supporters said they'll be back to help him win.