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 and 76 percent of the vote across the entire 46th District.

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, which is likely to come before them for a vote in coming months.

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.

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.

Turnout at 29 percent was lower than in the equivalent election in 2012, when 45.7 percent voted, or in 2008, when 36.4 percent of the voters cast a ballot.

Also elected today were a group of unchallenged candidates. The unchallenged candidates as well as those who had competition today will not have Democratic opposition in November.

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


rightway1974 said...

Only 13% of voters turned out? That just proves that most here dont care what happens to the county. They will approve Calls Creek sewer and allocate it for residential. Gwinnett county here we come.

rightway1974 said...

How many here can remember when there wasnt even a red light in Watkinsville or the County? I can. I have watched in disbelief as outside developers and insider politicians have ruined the County.

Lee Becker said...

Turnout was 28.9 percent.

Anonymous said...

-New huge car dealership at Virgil Langford Road & 316 = Done Deal

-Calls Creek Sewer = Done Deal

-A chicken processing plant with a huge need for endless water = Done Deal

-$4.5 million of taxpayer money for a road that solely benefits Atlanta developer Frank Bishop = Done Deal

-More embarrassing appointments to the Animal Control Board = Done Deal

-Millions spent on infrastructure and tax breaks for Caterpillar with no return on investment as promised by the Commissioners & the Industrial Development Authority = Already a Done Deal

County Commission = 4 middle-aged Caucasian males and a Bubber.

Oconee Voters have made a conscious choice to elect commissioners who will bend over backwards for out of town developers and realtor/State Transportation Board member Jamie Boswell.

Heck, John Daniell can't wait to start as commission chair and drastically raise Parks & Rec. Department fees.

There is no long term planning, no vision for smart & sustainable growth. The previous, current and future commission places no value on farmland and historic preservation.

The decisions they make now affect us 20 years from now. We are now officially Gwinnett County.

Anonymous said...

As a life long resident and one that has a family that has lived here since way back in the 1800's I voted against any incumbent and I am not happy with the good ole boy routine that is going on with the BOC. Very worried about the future of MY county and the out of control growth. Look for the schools to go down and so long to good country living.

Anonymous said...

Is it not curious that the 6 contested races all had about the same 3,000 vote margins? Landslide percentage margins but still less than 10% of Oconee's 34k poulation.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, more years of Buford T. Justice in Oconee!

Anonymous said...

The people of Oconee County have spoken loud and clear. The great majority want the new development that our commissioners are bringing in. I love shopping at Epps Bridge Centre and am greatful to Mr. Bishop developing a quality development. I love all the new restaurants in Oconee County and want many more. In fact I want to buy my next car in Oconee County. I also love the farmland and the wooded land in the south part of our county. Oconee County is big enough for both. I hope the new team of commissioners will follow in the leadership of Mr Davis and continue to grow Oconee County.

Unknown said...

I agree with Anonymous, but I would like to see smart development. I do not want the Mars Hill/Oconee Connector corridors to in anyway resemble Atlanta Highway. You can't have just any Tom, Dick, or Harry throwing up a metal butler building and calling it a business. Thoughtful, meaningful development with traffic consideration and planning is a must.

Anonymous said...

Before you get to exalted by the delirium of victory - the "great majority" - 80% of OC residents did not cast a ballot. As much as I enjoy some of the features of the Epps Bridge Center, and Tsunami is a welcome to the plethora of fast food providers, why is all this development have to mean that our taxes always go up and never down. Are we making smart deals?