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J. Marshall Coleman (born June 8, 1942) is a Republican politician in Virginiamarker who ran for several statewide offices between the late 1970s and early 1990s. Coleman was elected Attorney General of Virginia in 1977, and as the GOP nominee for Governor of Virginia in 1981, he lost to Democrat Charles S. "Chuck" Robb. Coleman was the surprise Republican nominee for governor in 1989, having upset the heavily favored former U.S. Senator Paul S. Trible, Jr., in the GOP primary. However, he came up short again in the general election, this time losing a very close election to Democrat L. Douglas Wilder, the first African-American ever elected governor of a U.S. state. Coleman was leading in certain polls until two days before the election, when a strong statement against abortion caused his popularity with female voters to drop. He also was portrayed as a flip-flopper, having radically changed his position on abortion and other topics several times. The media has also repeatedly portrayed Coleman as a "perennial candidate".

In 1994, Coleman ran for U.S. Senate as an independent, seeking to seize the middle ground between Robb, who had been elected to the Senate in 1988, and the GOP nominee, Oliver North. Coleman received the endorsement and support of Virginia's other U.S. Senator, Republican John Warner. Robb narrowly edged out North to win re-election. Coleman finished a distant third with 12% of the vote, despite Warner's support and widespread dislike among voters for North, who had been convicted on minor charges which were later overturned for his role in the Iran-Contra Affair and Robb, who faced allegations of womanizing. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan openly opposed North in the election.

He graduated from the University of Virginiamarker.


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