Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Incumbents Dominate Oconee County Election Results

BOC Gets 2 Marks

Incumbents overwhelmingly defeated challengers in a low turnout election in Oconee County.

Sheriff Scott Berry got just less than 70 percent of the vote.

Incumbent Commissioner Mark Saxon got 72 percent.

Incumbent Board of Education Chairman Tom Odom got 74 percent of the vote, as did incumbent Coroner Ed Carson.

Mark Thomas got 72 percent of the vote in the race against Penny Mills for open Post 1 on the Board of Commissioners.

Sen. Bill Cowsert got 77 percent of the vote in the county.

Turnout was only 29 percent, based on results released tonight. The figures are for all 13 county precincts but have not yet been certified.

Change Rejected

Sarah Bell, running against Mark Saxon for the Post 4 BOC position, along with Mills, had been critical of the activities of the Board of Commissioners, citing in particular what they called problems of openness and transparency.


They had spoken out at the two Candidate Forums against the proposed sewer pipeline down Calls Creek and criticized the Board for its handling of appointments to citizen committees, and specifically to the Animal Control Advisory Board.


Those criticisms weren’t accepted by the majority of the voters who went to the polls today or in early voting.

Saxon had been clear in his statement that the Board of Commissioners was providing strong leadership to the county.

Neither Saxon nor Thomas would say exactly how he would vote on the Calls Creek pipeline.

Sheriff Race

Sheriff Scott Berry was outspent by challenger Kevin “Chappy” Hynes, who said it was time for a change in the operation of the Sheriff’s Office.

Berry focused on his long service and the low crime rate in the county.

Dale Rogers said he would bring a new perspective to the Coroner’s Office resulting from his experience as a funeral director.

Britt Beaver said the Board of Education should be more involved in the day-to-day activities of the county's schools.

Pat Daugherty from Bishop challenged incumbent Bill Cowsert on the grounds that more women were needed in the General Assembly and that many of the legislators had lost touch with the citizens.

Republican Primary

Voters rejected the arguments of the challengers in the Republican primary, which was where all of the action was on the Oconee County ballot.

Almost all of Oconee County’s voters chose the Republican ballot.

A total of 6,743 of the county’s 22,255 voters went to the polls either today or in early voting, and at least 6,389 of those used the Republican ballot.

Also elected today were a group of unchallenged candidates, most of whom will not have Democratic opposition in November.

Included was John Daniell, who received stepped down as commissioner to run for the BOC chair position, being vacated by retiring Melvin Davis.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Three Oconee Commissioners Say They Met With Representative Of Proposed Auto Dealership Development

”Only Listened”

All three of Oconee County’s voting commissioners acknowledge meeting with the representative of the developer seeking to rezone properties on SR 316 at Virgil Langford Road for auto dealerships, but each said he has not yet decided how to vote on the request.

Commissioner William “Bubber” Wilkes said he met with Jon William of Williams and Associates to discuss the project, and Commissioner Jim Luke said he met with Williams and with another representative of the applicant.

Majority Of Funding For Oconee County Sheriff Candidate Hynes Comes From Non-Local Sources

Large Amounts Raised

More than half of the funding for the campaign of Oconee County Sheriff candidate Kevin “Chappy” Hynes has come from non-local sources, according to early campaign finance filings, while incumbent Sheriff Scott Berry has raised almost all of his campaign funds from local sources.

As of March 31, Hynes had raised $52,600 and lent himself another $5,000 for the campaign, while Berry had raised $11,100.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Transparency And Openness Of Government Are Issues In Oconee County Commission Race

Davis Aids Cause

The two candidates running as outsiders in the Oconee County Board of Commissioners contest have made transparency and openness in government a key issue.

At the last Board of Commissioners meeting on May 3, Commission Chairman Melvin Davis gave them the perfect illustration of the problem they are addressing.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Oconee County Early Voting Continues At High Rate, Outpacing Figures Statewide And In Neighboring Counties

Ahead Of March Primary

Early voting in Oconee County continues at a pace ahead of voting for the presidential primary on March 1, with 985 voters casting a ballot by the end of the day yesterday, compared with 518 after two weeks of voting for the March primary.

As of the end of the day on Tuesday, Oconee County early voting was considerably higher than the figures for the state as a whole and higher than in many of the surrounding counties.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Extreme Fireworks Wants To Open A Store In Oconee County Shopping Center

Before Planning Commission

Extreme Fireworks of Alpharetta is asking Oconee County to allow operation of a year-round retail fireworks store in Manders Crossing shopping center at Cliff Dawson Road and Mars Hill Road.

The request will be before the Oconee County Planning Commission when it meets at 7 p.m. on Monday in the Courthouse in Watkinsville and will be joined on the agenda by a rezone request for auto dealerships on SR 316 at Virgil Langford Road and for a reception hall on Hog Mountain Road.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Oconee County Candidates Restate Their Credentials In GOP Meet And Greet

Chops And Hops

The Oconee County candidates in the May 24 Republican primary covered familiar ground last night in introducing themselves to about 40 people who turned out for a Meet and Greet at Chops and Hops Restaurant in Watkinsville.

Board of Commissioners candidates Penny Mills and Sarah Bell, seeking Post 1 and Post 4 respectively, stated concerns about rapid growth in the county.