Pubdate: Tue,  6 Jan 2004
Source: Amarillo Globe-News (TX)
Copyright: 2004 Amarillo Globe-News
Author: George Schwarz
Bookmark: (Tulia, Texas)


PLAINVIEW - In nearly 20 years as district attorney, Terry McEachern has 
never faced an opponent come election time. But after several years of 
controversy, the embattled prosecutor will be facing three different 
challengers looking to unseat him.

McEachern, who prosecuted nearly all the cases in the controversial 1999 
Tulia drug bust, announced Sunday that he will be seeking his fifth term as 
district attorney.

"I think if the voters look at the actual facts, and not what a select few 
have decided the facts are, about what happened (in the drug bust), I'll be 
fine," McEachern said.

In addition to announcing his candidacy, McEachern decided to switch 
political affiliation to Republican and drop his appeal of a driving while 
intoxicated conviction from last year in New Mexico.

The political switch is a bit of a surprise from a man who has run as a 
Democrat for nearly two decades. McEachern said he made the decision 
because Republican values more closely match his ideology and the ideology 
of people in the district, which covers Hale and Swisher counties.

As far as the DWI goes, McEachern said he still thinks he was singled out 
for harsh treatment because of his position, but he is going to quit 
fighting and subject himself to the law.

"I'm going to go take my medicine and get it done," McEachern said of his 
sentence, which includes a $300 fine and two days in jail.

McEachern's opponents are much less quick to dismiss the controversies of 
the past few years.

Plainview attorney Hollis M. Browning has filed for the office but was not 
planning on announcing his candidacy until later this week. On Monday, 
however, Browning was willing to talk about what he would bring to the office.

"At this point, I think Hale and Swisher counties need somebody who has 
experience and somebody who can restore integrity and dignity to the 
office," Browning said. "I think I bring both of those things."

Browning worked for more than nine years in the district attorney's office 
in Lubbock, where he tried everything from petty misdemeanors to capital 

Browning moved back to his home town of Plainview about eight years ago and 
has been practicing family and criminal law.

"I guess somebody who's worked in DA's office as long as I did, it kind of 
gets in your blood," Browning said. "I've always wanted to run for DA.

"I think that's the reason you see four people running for office. The 
troubles have caused a lot of people to think we need a change."

McEachern will also be running against attorney Eric Willard, who did not 
return phone calls Monday, and Plainview City Attorney Wally Hatch, who 
announced his candidacy two months ago.
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