Lunceford vs. Mathes, Round 2
The dynamics of the sheriff’s race in the August general election have changed once again.
And in a big way.
James Parrish, an independent candidate for Carter County sheriff, has announced he is withdrawing as a candidate in the sheriff’s race for the August general election and supporting the primary winner.
“Effective May 23, 2014, I am stepping out of the Carter County Sheriff’s race and supporting the primary winner Mr. Dexter Lunceford,” Parrish said. “Dexter is a long-time friend and I looked forward to campaigning along-side him in the general election.”
“As the defeated incumbent re-enters the race as a write-in it is my intent to avoid a split vote that does not benefit the will of the people demonstrated during the May 6th election,” Parrish wrote in a press release.
When contacted by the Star, Parrish declined any further comment.
Lunceford said he welcomed and would accept Parrish’s support for the August election.
“It was a gracious thing for him to do, and it was a hard thing for him to do,” Lunceford said.
Lunceford defeated incumbent Chris Mathes in the May primary by the narrow margin of 68 votes. Last weekend, Mathes announced his intent to run a write-in campaign to retain his position.
Both of the remaining candidates, Lunceford and Mathes, say the change in candidates for the position will not impact their race for the sheriff’s job.
“I beat Chris Mathes in an honest and fair race in the primary,” Lunceford said. “I think the people spoke then.”
Mathes said he would still be focused on rallying his supporters for the success of his write-in campaign.
“It doesn’t change anything for me, whether I am running against one or two together as one or 10 people,” he said. “I still have to get people out to vote. I am focused on winning the sheriff’s race. I have to run my race no matter what.”
To further complicate the situation, although Parrish has announced his withdrawal from the race, his name will still appear on the ballot in August.
Administrator of Elections Tracy Harris explained that independent candidates had the same deadline for withdrawing from the ballot as the Republican candidates: Feb. 27. She said she had not heard from Parrish about his intent to withdraw from the race.
“It is too late for him to come off the ballot,” Harris said. “He will still get votes I’m sure. If he explains to everyone what he wants, then most of the time people will go by his wishes. It is going to be interesting.”