Harman Beats Barron for Lexington Coroner
Despite questions of age and fitness for office, GOP incumbent Harry Harman vanquishes Frank Barron III.
It is the political office that perhaps touches least upon the lives of Lexington County residents. Yet it became the county's most watched race and -- even the candidates agreed -- the nastiest.
When the dust settled Tuesday night, incumbent Harry Harman, at age 77, came away the victor in the race for Lexington County Coroner, despite claims by his opponent that he is no longer fit for the job.
Despite his opponent's questions about his health, his age, and the quality and integrity of his staff, Harmon easily beat back challenger and former Richland County Coroner Frank Barron III, winning the GOP primary with nearly 69 percent of the vote, based on unofficial results.
With Tuesday's victory, Harman is likely to retain his office, which he has held since 1976, despite a potential challenge in November by petition candidate Clay Burkett, who was one of more than 200 candidates across the state ordered off the ballot last month under a state Supreme Court ruling.
"I can't believe this percentage," Harman said, celebrating with several dozen supporters and family members at The Flight Deck restaurant in Lexington. "I'm just overwhelmed."
Added Harman: "I've never been in any race like this.... This has just been a different race. That's why I'm just real pleased."
Barron had argued in his campaign that, among other things, Harman had become too frail to be an active coroner and that he seldom tended to his duties, leaving them instead to his deputies.
Harman has had at least a couple of extended hospital stays in the past year, most recently following back surgery. And on Tuesday night, the victor's left arm and side were visibly shaking. But Harman has steadfastly maintained that his health is fine, and that it is getting better.