Forrest Allgood and Scott Colom are both vying to be the district attorney that oversees the Golden Triangle.
Allgood, who has held the District 16 position since 1989, is stripping his party affiliation for his latest re-election bid, qualifying as an independent. This marks the first time since Allgood was first elected that he’s run as an independent. He ran as a Democrat in his previous re-election bids.
He will face Colom, a Columbus attorney, in the general election. Colom qualified with the state Democratic Party in Jackson on Friday.
Allgood said several factors led him to run as an independent, not the least of which was his belief that judicial system candidates should not have to declare a party.
“When you start talking about judicial elections, (circuit) judges don’t have to declare a party,” Allgood said. “So why should district attorneys have to? We’re part of the judicial system too.
“I’m the same guy that’s been running all these years, and that’s not going to change,” he added.
Also by running independent, Allgood won’t have to face Colom in a primary and he’s guaranteed a spot on November’s general election ballot. That means a longer campaign season, he said, therefore more opportunities to share his campaign message.
Allgood noted respect for Colom as an opponent, and the longtime incumbent said he wouldn’t take him for granted.
“Any time someone puts their name across from yours on a ballot, it’s a challenge,” Allgood said. “I’m sure Scott will be a viable candidate.”
Both Allgood and Colom are Columbus natives.
Colom has served as the prosecutor for the city the last two years. In an email sent to a variety of community members Friday evening, Colom said he decided to run for the position “after much reflection and prayers for wisdom.”
Colom said that during his time as a prosecutor and judge in the area, he has seen crime “ravage families and communities.”
“This violence recently hit close to me when a loved one was robbed at gun point in her home,” Colom’s email read. “Stopping this violence must be our first priority.”
Colom said that if elected he would establish a violent crime unit aimed at prosecuting violent criminals and also work with law enforcement to make sure they are using the best technology to stop crime before it happens.
District 16 includes Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay and Noxubee counties. The district attorney position pays $95,796 a year.
William Browning was managing editor for The Dispatch until June 2016.
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