District 32 is another step closer to filling its vacant Senate seat as early voting in the special election began Wednesday.
Last month, Paul Rose won the special primary, defeating three Shelby County Republicans with established political careers, and is facing Democrat Eric Coleman.
Neither Rose nor Coleman has served his community in a political capacity.
Coleman, a disabled Navy veteran who retired as a senior chief petty officer and now runs a consulting firm in Bartlett, spoke out against the proposed border wall last week, calling it impractical and egotistical.
“Reprogramming/realignment of funding at this stage in the fiscal year will force major claimants to make cuts to already underfunded programs and may create dangerous circumstances downstream,” he said.
The district has been red for decades, but that isn’t deterring the senior chief from running.
On his campaign Facebook page, he shared a video of himself learning to walk again with the caption, “This is how I approach all of this chatter about a ‘winless race’...I don’t subscribe to that reality. ‘Can’t’ ain’t in my vocabulary!”
Coleman believes it’s time for more diversity and inclusion and said while he doesn’t have the financial backing Rose does, he has 10 strategies and priorities should he be elected senator.
The list includes plans to help make his constituents become healthier, safer and more informed; zero-based budgeting for infrastructure; common sense approach to the opioid crisis; plans for economic growth and expansion and the care of veterans; disability advocacy; crime reduction; and job infusion.
Coleman and Rose have a similar stance on many issues, such as workforce development, but not on the national issues which have divided Americans.
A businessman, Rose is a lifelong resident of Covington and conservative who supports many of President Donald Trump’s policies and plans, including the construction of a border wall.
“I wish Tennessee could build a border wall and I would encourage the federal government to build that wall,” he said.
Rose’s priorities include working with Governor Bill Lee to grow the economy, increasing workforce development, improving the healthcare system and keeping the communities safe. He said he is a strong defender of the second amendment, strong believer in less government and a member of the National Rifle Association.
Early voting begins Wednesday, Feb. 20 at the Shelby County Election Commission, where polls will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week, from 10-4 on Saturday, Feb. 23 and 8-4 on Saturday, March 2.
On Feb. 27, five additional locations open for early voting:
- Arlington Safe Room, 11842 Otto Lane
- Collierville Church of Christ, 575 Shelton Dr.
- Compassion Church, 3505 S. Houston Levee Rd., Germantown
- Harmony Church, 6740 St. Elmo Rd., Bartlett
- The Refuge Church, 9817 Huff N Puff Rd., Lakeland
Polls will be open from 11-7 during the week and 8-4 on Saturday.
Early voting ends on March 7. Election day is March 12.
In October, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville) was confirmed a U.S. district judge, vacating the 32nd district seat he held for nearly two decades.
The 32nd district encompasses all of Tipton County and parts of eastern Shelby County.