Finance gap large in race to fill high court seat

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Oxford attorney Josiah Coleman picked up a significant political endorsement and raised $5,300 during May in his race against Batesville opponent Flip Phillips for a Mississippi Supreme Court seat.
Coleman still lags Phillips with total receipts and cash on hand. The two face off in the non-party Nov. 6 general election.
Phillips, 64, raised $33,600 during the month.
His $115,107 cash-on-hand total dwarfs 39-year-old Coleman’s $5,878, although Phillips’ war chest includes a $50,250 bank loan.
Earlier this month, Coleman’s candidacy won endorsement by the directors of the Business and Industry Political Education Committee. BIPEC is a leading Mississippi conservative business lobby.
The court seat’s current occupant, Justice George Carlson of Batesville, decided to retire at the end of his term this year. The race is across 33 counties in North Mississippi.
Coleman of Toccopola, who practices with Hickman Goza amp& Spragins PLLC of Oxford, reported five donations in his June-filed report. Top donor was state Republican Party stalwart W.D. Mounger of Jackson at $2,500.
Donors at $1,000 each were Taylor Machine Works of Louisville and Black Acre Group LLC of St. Petersburg, Fla., and $250 donations each from Tupelo banker Burton B. Hosch Jr. and Louisville attorney Niles McNeel.
Coleman reported spending $1,050 with a Flowood graphic design firm.
Phillips, a longtime partner in the firm Smith Phillips Mitchell Scott amp& Nowack LLP, reported 18 donations in the June report. Top donors at $5,000 each were Hernando attorney Paul R. Scott, Southaven farmer Hal C. Crenshaw and Eutaw Construction Co. CEO Thomas S. Elmore of Aberdeen, $2,500 from Huron Smith Oil Co. president Donald F. Smith and $2,000 from Pine Lodge LLC of Batesville.
Donors at $1,000 each were Madison businessman Denny King, Huron Smith Oil Co. of Batesville, Gunnoe Investment Group of Oxford, Jamp&J Realty of Booneville, Ripley banker Bobby P. Martin, Renasant Bank Employees Voluntary PAC, Como attorney Nicole Martin, Jackson attorney Sheldon Alston, The Grenada Family Medicine Clinic and JWE Holdings of Tunica, and at $500 each, Tupelo attorney L.F. Sams Jr., Ridgeland sales representative Justin Beard and Oxford physician Bradford Dye III.
Phillips reported paying $5,250 to Morgan Baldwin’s consulting firm in Tupelo and $768 to an Olive Branch commercial photographer.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com