Republican landslide? Not so fast
All around the country Republicans are cheering, toasting, slapping high-fives and exchanging smug one-liners.”Veterinarian: One,” Wayne Allard announced at his victory party, “Millionaire lobbyist: Zero.”The GOP seems to have hit (almost) every political ball right on the fat part of the bat. They blasted through state and national races with the force of a juiced-up Barry Bonds at a junior girls softball tournament, and they’ve got the winning attitude to match.But not every ball went out of the park. And, in fact, there is one county-level race where the GOP struck out altogether: county coroner.Wheeeeeeeeee!OK, so county coroner isn’t exactly a major political trophy. Still, the Democrats should be proud. And although Kara Bettis’ victory over Republican Bruce Campbell has little to do with her political affiliation, a victory is a victory and Democrats need every morsel of good news they can scrounge.It’s also important to note that the county coroner’s race was dead clean, Bettis’ campaign supporters worked together as a body, and even though Campbell was shot down this time, he’s sure to have some form of political afterlife.And who can compete with Bettis’ father, who showed up outside the polls in a full-body chicken suit? (We’re still trying to find out what chickens have to do with the coroner’s race, but we’re sure there are plenty of poultry/poached eggs/pecking order/coroner jokes out there to be had).For the past 24 years our county has had little controversy in the coroner department, thanks to the fine work of Donna Barnes (formerly Donna Meineke). Barnes trained both Bettis and Campbell, and gives us her word that either of the candidates would have performed well at the position.Devotees of the X-Files will be saddened to learn that Barnes has encountered very few supernatural oddities during her tenure as county coroner. They may also be surprised (or disappointed) to find out that Barnes never performed autopsies. That lovely distinction belongs to some forensic-pathologist-doctor types who live in a hovering space laboratory high in the mountains, where they perform experiments on alien corpses discovered in the deserts of Nevada, or so it is rumored.In fact, Barnes’ stories from the front lines of murder scenes and car wrecks are true-to-life and (as the saying goes) stranger than fiction. Barnes once received photos of a murder scene at a friend’s house, where they were discovered by her friend’s new secretary, who had no idea Barnes was coroner. The secretary fled the scene in terror never to return, believing to this day that Barnes is some sort of serial killer, murderer, or miscreant conspirator.Now that Barnes is finished with the coroner thing, she’s looking at new career opportunities. Being county coroner, it seems, has more to do with finding missing persons than anything else, so there’s always that option. And during one investigation Barnes was offered a job (over the phone no less) as an exotic dancer at a West Colfax club. But don’t make assumptions. She was only trying to find the true identity of a dancer who died in a car wreck here, and the enterprising club owner gave her the option of replacing said dancer anytime she wished.County residents should be aware that Bettis, as she steps into her new role as coroner, has a power unknown to most mortals.As Barnes puts it: “You’re not dead until I say you’re dead.”Meaning, of course, that coroners and doctors are the only people who can validate death certificates.Tell that one to the Republicans.