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Chicago is not alone when it comes to questionable election winners

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(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

While the ongoing saga of Jesse Jackson Jr. - now working on a plea deal according to reporting by Michael Sneed - will cause tongues to wag about the continuing questionable state of Illinois political malfeasance, we are far from alone.

The feds, according to Sneed's report, are targeting Rep. Jackson's use of campaign funds. And we have our share of governors either in prison or who know their way around a cellblock. We have politicians fond of hiring relatives and blowing off ethics inquiries. We even have judges who's, well, state of mind is in question.

But at least they're all still alive.

The same cannot be said for Earl K. Wood, Charles Beasley and Mario Gallegos.

While there are no accusations of wrongdoing against either man, but are undeniably unfit to serve in the offices they won in Tuesday's election since both men died weeks before election day.

Wood, a Florida - surprise - Democratic tax collector in Orlando died of natural causes at age 96 on October 15. The Orlando Sentinel, in reporting on Wood's death, pointed out that even when he was alive, he rarely made it to the office he'd held for 45 years:

For nearly five decades, the feisty Wood had defended keeping his office as an elected post, even as he spent less time there and his health issues grew. Critics had pointed to those absences, and argued that an office whose primary function is handling vehicle tag renewals and property tax payments no longer needed an elected politician at the helm.

To the end though, Wood insisted that he made all major decisions and promoted his services during off hours, whether at Toastmasters International and Shriners meetings, or even at his favorite fast-food haunts.

"For 45 years we've balanced to the penny, and we've been there for the people," Wood said in a 2011 interview. "I love my job, as you know."

Still, despite questions about his ability to do the job - before AND after death - Wood managed to win with 56 percent of the vote against a Republican challenger, Jim Huckeba, who had pledged to eliminate the office altogether had he won. As it stands, the office remains with a replacement for Wood appointed by local Democrats.

While Huckeba didn't win the office, he kind of came out on top in this race in the end anyway.

The there's Bibb County (Ala.) Commissioner Charles Beasley. He also did very well in Tuesday's election, beating the incumbent, Walter Sansing, to take a seat on the commission. Unfortunately for Beasley, he died October 12 of a suspected aneurism.

Sansing did not take the news of his loss well.

"It is a touchy situation. When you are running against a dead man, you are limited as to what you can say," Sansing told Reuters.

Texas State Sen. Mario Gallegos also did very well in his race, despite not surviving it.

Gallegos' death, while unfortunate, does help get Gov. Rick Perry's name back in the news. Perry, a Republican, will be tasked with appointing a replacement for the Democrat Gallegos until a special election can be arranged.

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