The last time someone won the Mega Millions jackpot, people across the country were voting in midterm elections.
That means Tuesday's prize has climbed into rare territory to an estimated $246 million, according to the lottery's website, after players failed to match all six numbers during Friday’s drawing. It is the game's eighth largest prize in the past five years.
The jackpot has been rolling over since Nov. 4, when one ticket in New York won a $326 million jackpot, the eighth largest in the game’s history.
The winner of that jackpot stepped forward Monday, the lottery announced. Retired elementary school principal Harold Diamond, 80, of Wurtsboro, New York, claimed the prize.
"My wife and I were driving to Middletown for dinner after voting on Election Day, but the weather made us rethink our plans,” Diamond said. "My wife insisted we stop [at the Valero gas station] to eat and wait for the weather to clear, and I reluctantly agreed."
If taken as a lump sum, Tuesday's $246 million jackpot would have an estimated cash value of $144 million after taxes, according to the lottery's website. The winning numbers will be drawn at 10 p.m. CST Tuesday.
The record U.S. lottery prize of $656 million was a Mega Millions jackpot awarded in March 2012. That prize was split among winners in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland. In December 2013, ticket-holders struck the second largest Mega Millions jackpot of $648 million.
Los Angeles Times contributed.