Janesville31.1°

Holder to run for Rock County Coroner as write-in

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Ted Sullivan
September 21, 2010
— A Democratic candidate who lost her bid to become Rock County coroner in the primary election will run as a write-in this November.

Terry Holder, 43, of 950 Nelson Ave., Milton, will challenge incumbent Democratic Coroner Jenifer Keach, 39, of 1320 Elida St., Janesville.


Keach will be the only candidate on the ballot in November’s general election after beating Holder in the primary with about 3,892 to 2,505 votes.


Holder said she decided to run as a write-in candidate because she still has a lot of support.


“I’m not willing to give up on Rock County just yet,” Holder said. “I’m in this for the long haul. I believe I still have a shot.”


In the primary, voters had to choose all Democrats or all Republicans on a straight ballot. Holder said Republicans might have voted for her if they didn’t think it was more important to vote in other Republican primaries.


In November, voters can choose Republicans or Democrats on the same ballot. Holder said many Republicans would support her.


“The odds are definitely set against me,” Holder said. “I figure it’s a long shot, and I’m hitting the ground running. It doesn’t hurt to try.”


Holder said she had a lot of support for a newcomer. She said she entered the race late and has learned more about politics because of the primary. She said she plans to knock on doors throughout the county and be more visible.


“My goal is to get out a lot more and meet a lot more people,” Holder said.


Keach was appointed coroner in 2005, and was elected to the position in 2006. She said she was aware of Holder’s write-in candidacy, adding “the people made their choice on Sept. 14.”


Write-in candidates have a huge challenge to overcome in elections, Rock County Clerk Lori Stottler said.


It’s very difficult for write-in candidates to win, but they have had success in local races.


Julie Backenkeller had about 1,000 votes in the spring 2009 Janesville City Council election but did not get elected to office.


Paul Donovan and Allen Schneider defeated two incumbents in April as write-in candidates for the Brodhead School Board.


Holder is a former autopsy assistant and phlebotomist at William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison. She resigned from her job because of the federal Hatch Act, which prevents federal employees from running in partisan elections.


Voters also will decide in a November referendum whether to have an elected coroner or appointed medical examiner. The referendum will be advisory, and the Rock County Board won’t have to follow its outcome.


Any change would not be effective until 2014.



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