Coleman goes to court in Senate District 8

By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal Jackson Bureau

JACKSON – The ballots have been approved by the state Election Commission for the Nov. 8 general election, but that isn’t preventing Marshall Coleman, the second-place finisher in the Senate District 8 Democratic primary, from challenging his election loss.
Coleman, a Calhoun City alderman and small business owner, contends that there should have been a runoff election between him and winner Russell Jolly of Houston. He is seeking to have a Grenada County Circuit Court judge review the election returns.
Jolly won the Aug. 2 primary with just more than the majority needed to avoid a runoff. But Coleman contends that there were voting irregularities in Chickasaw and Grenada counties that could have resulted in a big enough swing in the vote to have dropped Jolly below the majority.
During a Monday telephone interview, Coleman would not go into detail about the alleged voter irregularities.
Both the state Democratic Party and the Election Commission already have certified Jolly, a cattle farmer, as the winner. The ballot already has been approved by the Election Commission.
When questioned about what he wants a judge to do, Coleman said, “We don’t know what he will do. I don’t know what the outcome will be. All I know is that we have identified some irregularities … and we want people to do the honest thing for the election.”
He said he was not accusing anyone of wrongdoing.
Jolly received 6,112 votes in the Aug. 2 primary compared to 3,390 for Coleman and 2,678 for Sherman Carouthers of Okolona. Coleman missed the runoff by 44 votes.
As it stands now, Jolly is set to face Republican Patsy Gregory in the November general election.
They are vying to replace long-time Sen. Jack Gordon who died earlier this year. Besides all of Chickasaw and a portion of Grenada, District 8 also consists of a portion of Calhoun and Lee counties.
bobby.harrison@journalinc.com