By Bobby Harrison/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – People in Senate District 8 will have an opportunity to vote twice on Nov. 8 for their next senator.
They will vote in the regular general election via machine ballot for who they want to serve the next four years representing District 8 in the state Senate beginning in January, but they also will choose who they want to serve in the post for just the rest of this year.
Jack Gordon, the longtime Senate 8 incumbent, died earlier this year. State law required Gov. Haley Barbour to set a special election for the post. He set the special election for the same day as the regular election.
Democrat Russell Jolly of Houston and Republican Patsy Gregory of Okolona, who won their party’s respective party primaries in August, have qualified for the special election, as has Marshall Coleman of Calhoun City.
Coleman, a small business owner and alderman, lost the Democratic primary to Jolly, but has filed a legal appeal of the outcome. A hearing in that case, which is in the circuit court, will be held today at the Grenada County Courthouse.
Jolly, a cattle farmer, has been certified the winner by the state Democratic Party and by the state Election Commission, but Coleman maintains there were enough voting irregularities to have impacted the outcome of the Aug. 2 Democratic primary. Jolly had 6,112 votes in the primary to 3,390 for Coleman and 2,678 for Sherman Carouthers of Okolona. Coleman was 44 votes short of a runoff.
Sandra Willis, Chickasaw County circuit clerk, said people who vote in the Senate District 8 special election in all four counties will cast a paper ballot.
“It will be cast and counted like it used to be many years ago – even before I was circuit clerk,” she quipped.
If no candidate obtains a majority vote in the special election, there will be a runoff between the top two vote-getters three weeks later for a term that will expire on Jan. 3.
District 8 consists of all of Chickasaw and portions of Lee, Grenada and Calhoun counties.