Ada coroner campaign sign stirs controversy

MERIDIAN, Idaho (KBOI) -- If it's true there's no such thing as bad publicity, then one candidate for Ada County Coroner may be in luck.

The campaign sign in the front yard of Matthew Townsend's home on South Meridian Road is getting attention from coast to coast.

But maybe for all the wrong reasons.

What some people find disrespectful, if not offensive, is the word "coroner" on the sign appears to be dripping with blood.

Townsend, a Republican, is running for Ada County Coroner in the May primary election.

The New York Daily News calls his approach "macabre."

People who live nearby have other words for it.

"I think it's nasty," said Veronica Defever of Meridian. "I wouldn't do it. Nasty. Rude."

"When there's a (dead) body involved, it needs to be done respectfully," said Sara Jones of Meridian. "Dripping with blood looks more like a haunted house. It's disrespectful, unprofessional."

Some people we talked to had no problem with the sign, saying America is all about free speech.

We couldn't reach Townsend at his home or by phone.

But on his Facebook page he wrote: "I don't understand how my sign could be more offensive than a haunted house sign or a sign with a police officer on it."

Maybe it's all in the eye of the beholder.

(Two other Republicans are running for coroner in the May primary: Robert Karinen and Mike Chilton.)