Aug. 6 primary certified by party.
The Coahoma County Democratic Party Executive Committee’s role in the 2019 primary is finished and now in the hands of the court system.
Coahoma County Democratic Party chair Ray Sykes made that declaration after boxes were canvassed at the request of candidates last week.
Sheriff candidate Mario Magsby filed a lawsuit in circuit court after coming in second place in the Aug. 6 election. Incumbent Charles Jones was declared the winner, while Stacy Lester third. Magsby is requesting either a new election or a runoff between him and Jones.
District 3 Board of Supervisors candidate Travis Haggan, District 4 candidate Darron “Gucci” Griffin and District 5 candidate Shirley Fair all asked for the boxes to be canvassed, but none filed a lawsuit. Haggan lost to incumbent Derrell Washington, Griffin lost to incumbent Johnny Newson and Fair came in third-place behind Roosevelt Lee and incumbent Will Young. Lee defeated Young in the Aug. 27 runoff.
Since no one else ran in any of those races, the winner of the Democratic primary automatically wins the election.
That means, if everything stands, Lee will be the first African-American Supervisor representing District 5.
“It makes me feel great to know that I accomplished that goal,” Lee said.” I’ve always wanted to accomplish something of that nature. Not knowing that this was it, I always had a feeling of serving the people. I never took into consideration it would be of this magnitude.”
The racial issues never a concern for Lee throughout the electoral process.
“When I take office, my plan is to serve the whole community that’s in District 5,” he said.
“I just want to say that I just really appreciate the District. Most of all, I want to thank the Lord for allowing me to be able to win the position.”
Sykes talked about the electoral process.
“When it (election) was certified, it was out of our hands at that point,” he said. “We got a lot of complaints about what people thought were legitimate complaints. We’re not saying that they were or they were not, but we certified based on the complaints that we did get, that it was not going to change the election.”
And the election is now for a judge to decide and that could take up to a year – or longer – as the suit winds its way through the court.
Sykes said the party’s attorney, Ellis Turnage of Cleveland, has asked the Democratic committee not to discuss the election.
“Based on what they were complaining about, about the machines, that’s out of our league,” Sykes explained.” The attorney is going to deal with that.”
Sykes said Magsby filed a lawsuit before the Democratic Party finished looking at the complaints.
Haggan, Griffin and Fair still have the option of a hearing, but it would come through the court system, not the Coahoma County Democratic Party.
“They never reported back (after the boxes were canvassed),” Sykes said. “They never came back and asked for a hearing before the Democratic Executive Committee.”