News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Non-race for Lawrence coroner not a conspiracy

Terry Garwood, Republican candidate for Lawrence County coroner, says Micah Coffey, his Democratic opponent, would be a better fit for the position.

Mr. Garwood, owner of County Emergency Medical Services, told THE DAILY in July that he planned to withdraw from the Nov. 7 general election after deciding that his friend Mr. Coffey has more forensic experience and education.

"I was considering withdrawing because I knew Micah would do a wonderful job," Mr. Garwood said. "But my Republican Party and my supporters wanted me to stay on, so I did, even though I think he would be a better fit."

The Sept. 28 deadline to change a name on the Nov. 7 ballot has passed and Mr. Garwood's name remains on it.

Lawrence County GOP officials make it sound as if there is a conspiracy at work. County party Chairman Johnny Turner said he wanted to replace Mr. Garwood on the ballot, but that Mr. Garwood would not return his telephone calls.

State GOP Executive Director Tim Howe alleges that Mr. Garwood was avoiding local Republican officials.

But, if the Lawrence County Republican Party had a real interest in placing a viable candidate on the ballot — there are no GOP countywide officeholders in Lawrence — they could have tracked Mr. Garwood down at his job or at his home.

It is true that Mr. Garwood and Mr. Coffey are friends and have worked together in the past. Current Coroner Greg Randolph characterized their relationship as "best buddies."

But, unless the winner decides to give the loser a job after the election, there is no evidence of a conspiracy here.

Just evidence of a party in search of competent leadership.

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