Muscogee County Coroner Bill Thrower's attempts to keep his job appear to have ended this week as he missed a deadline to publish his intentions to run for re-election as a write-in candidate in the November election.
It was Thrower's third strike in a strange chain of events that doomed the Democratic incumbent.
The state law required that Thrower publish his write-in intentions in a legal advertisement by the first Tuesday after the first Monday in September. Thrower's first ad in the Ledger-Enquirer, the county's legal organ, ran Thursday, two days after the deadline, Muscogee County Director of Elections and Registration Nancy Boren said.
Thrower was sent a certified letter by the elections board earlier this week informing him of the missed deadline. Any write-in votes for Thrower will not count, Boren said.
"We are going to see what we can do about it," Thrower said Thursday afternoon.
When asked if his campaign was over, he responded, "It seems like it."
That leaves Buddy Bryan, a local mortician, as the only candidate in the coroner's race. There is no Republican on the ballot. Bryan has to get at least one vote in the Nov. 6 General Election to win the office.
Bryan qualified as a Democrat to challenge Thrower in the July primary. Thrower's problems started shortly after the May qualifying period. The coroner's $1,800 qualifying fee check to the local Democratic Party was returned for insufficient funds because of what Thrower called a "clerical error." Though he quickly made the bounced check good, the local elections board and a Superior Court judge declared him ineligible because the fee had not been paid by the deadline.
Thrower then regrouped and decided to challenge Bryan as an independent on the November ballot. He was required to collect 5,915 signatures of registered voters by Aug. 6 and pay the $1,800 qualifying fee to get on the ballot as an independent.
Thrower appeared to have electoral momentum going into the final days before the deadline. In the July 31 primary, Thrower's name appeared on the ballot because there was not enough time to have it removed after a Superior Court judge denied his appeal of the elections board's decision to disqualify him.
Though the results did not count, Thrower picked up 67 percent of the more than 15,000 votes cast to easily outdistance Bryan by more than a 2-to-1 margin.
A week later, Thrower failed to get the required number of signatures, to run as an independent.
His final option was to run as a write-in, which required the public notice.
He was appointed coroner in August 2007 by Probate Judge Julia Lumpkin when former Coroner James Dunnavant stepped down during the middle of his term.
In 2008, Thrower narrowly defeated challenger and former deputy coroner Ricky Weeks in the Democratic primary.