16 Towns County candidates qualify for 2020 election

Election, News
Towns County 2020 qualifying

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- The qualifying period for multiple Towns County offices began Monday, March 2, with seven candidates filing the first day. Qualifying ended at noon, Friday, March 6, with a total of 16 candidates officially entering the county races.

The voter registration deadline to cast a ballot in the General Primary is April 20, 2020.

Click here to register to vote

The earliest date for voters to submit an absentee ballot in the General Primary is March 31, 2020.

Advanced-in-Person Early Voting begins on April 27, 2020.

The General Primary Election will take place on May 19, 2020.

A countywide SPLOST referendum and Hiawassee fluoride referendum for voters to decide will appear on the ballot.

Towns County Candidates:

COUNTY Qualifying

Towns County Office of Commissioner

Cliff Bradshaw (Incumbent – Republican)


Daren Osborn (Republican)

Kenneth Henderson (Republican)

Jim Couch (Republican)

Lisa Joseph (Republican)

Linda Curtis (Republican)

Towns County Office of Tax Commissioner

Bruce Rogers (Incumbent – Democrat)

J.C. Berrong (Republican)

Towns County Office of Coroner

Harold Copeland (Incumbent – Republican)

Tamela Cooper (Republican)

Towns County Clerk of Superior Court

Cecil Dye (Incumbent – Republican)

Towns County Magistrate/Probate Judge

David Rogers (Incumbent – Republican)

Towns County Board of Education

Post 1 – Macedonia

Brandon Grimsley (Non-Partisan)

Post 4 – At Large

Stephanie McConnell (Non-Partisan)

Post 5 – At Large

Stephen Green (Non-Partisan)

Caroleen Woods (Non-Partisan)

STATE Qualifying

District 8 State Representative

Stan Gunter (Republican)

Steve Townsend (Republican)

Dave Cooper (Democrat)

State Senate District 50

Andy Garrison (Republican)

Stacy Hall (Republican)

Bo Hatchett (Republican)

Tricia Lyne Hise (Republican)

Dee Daley (Democrat)

Dan Gasaway (Republican)

Public Service Commission District 4

Lauren “Bubba” McDonald, Jr. (Incumbent – Republican)

Nathan Wilson (Libertarian)

Daniel Blackman (Democrat)

John Noel (Democrat)

Judge of Superior Court Enotah Circuit

Joy R. Parks (Incumbent – Non-partisan)

FEDERAL Qualifying

Ninth District U.S. Congress

Michael Boggus (Republican)

Andrew Clyde (Republican)

Matt Gurtler (Republican)

Maria Strickland (Republican)

Kevin Tanner (Republican)

Ethan Underwood (Republican)

Devin Pandy (Democrat)

Paul Broun (Republican)

John Wilkinson (Republican)

Dan Wilson (Democrat)

Kellie Weeks (Republican)

Siskin (Democrat)

United States Senate – Perdue Seat

James Knox (Democrat)

Jon Ossoff (Democrat)

Teresa Pike Tomlinson (Democrat)

Tricia Carpenter McCracken (Democrat)

Sarah Riggs Amico (Democrat)

Shane Hazel (Libertarian)

Marc Keith DeJesus (Democrat)

Maya Dillard Smith (Democrat)

David Perdue (Incumbent – Republican)

United States Senate – Loeffler Seat (Special Election in November) 

Kelly Loeffler (Incumbent – Republican)

Doug Collins (Republican)

A. Wayne Johnson (Republican)

Kandiss Taylor (Republican)

Tamara Johnson-Shealey (Democrat)

Matt Lieberman (Democrat)

Joy Felicia Shade (Democrat)

Ed Tarver (Democrat)

Richard Dien Winfield (Democrat)

Al Bartell (Independent)

Allen Buckley (Independent)

Brian Slowinski (Libertarian)

Derrick E. Grayson (Republican)

Rod Mack (Write-In)

Annette Jackson (Republican)

Deborah Jackson (Democrat)

Jamesia James (Democrat)

Raphael Warnock (Democrat)

Michael Todd Green (Independent)

Valencia Stovall (Independent)

John “Green” Fortuin (Green)

The Presidential Preference Primary takes place on March 24, 2020, and early voting opened on March 2. The mandatory Saturday voting will be held on March 14.

Here’s a list of all the federal and state races that are qualifying in 2020. If needed, a General Primary run-off will take place on July 21, 2020.

Fetch Your News will keep updating this article as more candidates qualify.


Continue to follow FYN for up-to-date campaign coverage as the 2020 election cycle advances.


UPDATED: Towns County candidates qualify for 2020 election

Election, News
Towns County GA election

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- The qualifying period for multiple Towns County offices began Monday, March 2, with seven candidates officially filing the first day. Qualifying ends at noon, Friday, March 6.

According to the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration, as of March 2, no Democratic or Independent candidates had yet qualified.

FYN will update the list of candidates in the upcoming election daily as additional candidates join the race.

The General Primary election will take place on May 19, 2020.


Towns County Candidates:


Towns County Office of Commissioner:

Incumbent – Cliff Bradshaw (R)


Towns County Office of Sheriff:

Daren Osborn (R)

Kenneth Henderson (R)

Jim Couch (R)

Lisa Joseph (R)

Linda Curtis (R)


Towns County Office of Tax Commissioner:

Incumbent – Bruce Rogers (D)

J.C. Berrong (R)


Towns County Office of Coroner:

Incumbent – Harold Copeland (R)

Tamela Cooper (R)


Towns County Clerk of Superior Court:

Incumbent – Cecil Dye (R)


Towns County Magistrate/Probate Judge:

Incumbent- David Rogers (R)


Towns County Board of Education:


Post 1 – Macedonia

Brandon Grimsley

Post 4 – At Large

Stephanie McConnell

Post 5 – At Large

Stephen Green

Caroleen Woods


New candidate for sheriff emerges as contestants take stage

Election, News
Towns County Election 2020

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County sheriff candidates and coroner contestants attended the February meeting of the Towns County Republican Party, Feb. 27. Each candidate was permitted five minutes to present an introduction speech to GOP members and visiting constituents. Newcomer to the sheriff’s race, Craig Earon, publicly announced candidacy at the Republican forum. Although present, sheriff’s contender Linda Curtis declined the invitation to address voters, explaining to FYN that she was advised against “partisan party affiliation and lobbying” by her federal employer prior to supervisory approval next week.

Tamela Cooper Towns County

Coroner challenger Tamela Cooper

Towns County coroner candidate Tamela Cooper, who holds a degree in moratory science, was first to speak. The funeral home owner-director serves as a deputy coroner under Towns County Coroner Harold Copeland. “Since my initial training in 2013, I have attended six different annual, in-service trainings, and have taken both of their specialty classes, personalized classes. in photography and blood splatter,” Cooper said in part. “I have worked over 150 cases in the Towns County coroner’s office, and I’ve cared for over 750 decedents at my funeral home.  I have worked everything from heart attacks, strokes, and car accidents, suicides, drug overdoses, and unfortunately, child fatalities. And I use the knowledge I gained in college courses and seven years I have in experience on every case I step on…If we were standing here tonight and talking about a fire chief position, you would not see me here…One of the things I do want to bring to light is that as it stands right now if we were to have a mass fatality situation, we have a fire chief and a coroner that would be working both search and rescue and fatalities. Those two positions, in my belief, need to be different. One person can’t possibly handle all of that if we were to have that situation in our town.”

Harold Copeland Towns County

Coroner incumbent Harold Copeland

Towns County Coroner Harold “H” Copeland followed. Copeland ran unopposed in 2016, securing the seat without competition. The fire chief stated that he initially decided to run for office based on past wait time for a coroner to arrive on the scene.  “The coroner business is a brutal business,” Copeland said. “It’s like (Cooper) said when we come to your house; I’ve worked four cases this month, that’s four cases too many. And it’s not fun when we come to your house because somebody’s grandpa, somebody’s mama, somebody’s child is there. So I believe in getting in there and treating the family with respect, moving on about what has to be done, and calling Cochran’s or Banister’s which leads me to another deal,” Copeland said, falling short of alleging that Cooper’s position as a funeral home director may constitute a conflict of interest.

Click to read: Cooper addresses ‘conflict of interest’ in coroner’s race

Jim Couch Towns County

Sheriff candidate Jim Couch

Towns County sheriff candidates next addressed the full house.

Towns County Sheriff’s Office Captain Jim Couch alphabetically led the preliminary forum. Couch began by recounting his law enforcement experience which began in 1978, including success with youth cadet involvement. “Here, I’d love to start that same program. It’s real easy to do…,” Couch said. “Now I’m with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office. I’m a captain. Right now I supervise 18 personnel. That’s patrol, investigations, school resource officers, court services. All those personnel, I do supervise. Four more are part-timers. Before that in White County, I supervised up to 30 personnel. I know how to supervise folks.” Couch, who announced candidacy following Sheriff Chris Clinton’s withdraw from re-election, said that officers enjoy working under his leadership because he does not “yell” at them. “I support my people, and I’ll do what I need to help those people advance in their career to meet their goal.” Couch concluded by stating that he is not looking inside the sheriff’s office, rather, he is within the sheriff’s office looking forward.

Craig Earon Towns County

Sheriff candidate Craig Earon

Craig Earon, the newest sheriff’s candidate, followed Couch. “Five years ago my wife and I moved here to Hiawassee from Gainesville, GA. We found this location to be paradise,” Earon began. “I’ve been retired for seven years and, of course, I get underfoot at the house and my wife wanted me to find something else to do, and I am running for sheriff.  I have a background working with most of the federal agencies; FBI, NSA, the U.S. Patent Trade Office, primarily security stuff for their systems. I’ve always enjoyed my work with long hours and never afraid to put in the extra hours necessary.” Earon said that his work history includes Fortune 500 employment, and explained that his law enforcement experience consisted of assisting an officer with warrant delivery in Norcross, GA. “I’m a quick learner. I do not have a law enforcement background, but I can tell you, I’m a quick study and I’m willing to put the hours in to get it done…When I heard that Chris Clinton was leaving, I wanted to at least throw my hat in to try to fill the void, and I believe I can do that.” Earon closed with a Ronald Reagan quote on law enforcement.

Ken Ode Henderson Towns County

Sheriff candidate Kenneth Henderson

Next up was sheriff’s contender Kenneth “Ode” Henderson. “If I’m elected your sheriff, I want to make sure that our officers are getting at least 40 hours of training each year,” Henderson said. “Now, Georgia only mandates that we do 20 hours, but I want to make sure we do at least 40. I hope that we can do more than that.” The Young Harris College police chief noted implementing “community-orientated type training,” along with the continuation of CLEA. Henderson stated that he plans to work in cooperation with local and surrounding law enforcement agencies, and intends to maintain state accreditation. The sheriff’s candidate spoke on creating a local, anonymous drug hotline and applying funds from seizures as reward incentives. Henderson reiterated wanting to change the pattern of current patrol cars to black-and-white to increase visibility and the value of a cadet program. “I want to reach out to our young folks. I want to work with them. I’ve done that for 38 years and have wonderful rapport with our students in working with them and want to do that in Towns County with ours. I want to keep drugs away from them, and we’re going to hire professional drug agents…If you’re selling drugs in Towns County, Towns County Sheriff’s Office is coming for you, and I promise you that. That will be our number one priority.”  Henderson assured that he will enact an open-door policy if elected.

Lisa Joseph Towns County

Sheriff candidate Lisa Joseph

Towns County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Lisa Joseph addressed constituents. “I do not bring as many years of experience to the road as some of my opponents,” Joseph explained. “What I do bring to the table is I have two Master’s degrees. I have a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s degree in Education, and you may ask yourself, what does that mean to you? What it should mean to you is that I can teach law enforcement as it applies today.” Joseph claimed that if law enforcement is conducted the way it was in past decades, it could lead to “lawsuits or jail time,” adding that a “fresh” approach is needed. “Law enforcement changed and we have to be able to change with it.” The patrol deputy said that animal control is an issue raised regularly in the community. “That’s a simple issue that all of us, including the commissioner’s office, can work together to have animal control,” Joseph said, moving on to say that she intends to retain the “high standards” within the sheriff’s office, including state accreditation.

Daren Bear Osborn Towns County

Sheriff candidate Daren Osborn

Lastly, sheriff candidate Daren “Bear” Osborn took the podium. “I’ve lived here in Towns County my entire life, born and raised here. I’ve been in law enforcement for 33 years,” Osborn began, listing experience serving with several departments and education in management and supervisor training. “I know why many of you moved here…We, as citizens of Towns County, want to keep our county safe, do we not? That’s why we moved here, and I am running for sheriff to keep this county safe. We have crime. It’s no secret. We have crime everywhere, and we’re going to attend to that problem. Drugs are our number one problem here in the county, and when you have drugs, you have thefts and burglaries. I’m an investigator in Union County at this time, lieutenant over property crimes,” Osborn said. “You have it in Towns County, you have it in Union County. I am, when elected sheriff, going to get back into the drug task force, actively. I’m not going to sit on the sidelines and let drugs take over this beautiful community.” Osborn acknowledged that opponent Henderson is equally passionate on the subject of drug enforcement. “Either one of us are going after the drugs. I guarantee you.” Osborn shared that his brother was killed in a car accident, the result of a driver being under the influence of drugs. “You can say it’s personal. Yeah, it’s personal. I don’t like drugs. I don’t like drivers that’s on the road drinking. I’m not going to tolerate that.” Osborn added that our youth is our future, and vowed to work “day and night” to “stop the problem we have here.”

Betsy Young Towns County

Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young led the meeting.

Retiring Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton did not attend the meeting.

All contenders plan to run on the Republican ticket in the General Primary, May 19.

A sheriff candidates’ forum is scheduled Saturday, March 14, at 6 p.m. at Towns County Schools. Doors open at 5 p.m. Official qualification takes place the week of March 2, 2020.

Related Archive:

UPDATED: Towns County Sheriff Candidates’ Forum planned for mid-March





Information for voters and qualifying Towns County candidates

Towns County GA elections

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Elections Chair Janet Olivia released the following information for candidates intending to seek office in the 2020 election:

In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 21-2-153(c)(2), notice is hereby given that the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration will be conducting qualifying of candidates for public office in the 2020 elections on behalf of the Democratic Party in Towns County. Qualifying will commence at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, March 02, 2020 and conclude at 12:00 p.m. (noon) on Friday, March 06, 2020. Qualifying will be conducted at the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration Office located at 67 Lakeview Circle; Suite A; Hiawassee, Georgia 30546.  The Towns County Board of Elections will also conduct qualifying for nonpartisan and independent candidates for the 2020 elections. Republican Party candidates qualifying for public office in Towns County will submit the appropriate documentation through their designated party representative(s). 

Although the Towns County Board of Elections office opens at 8:30 am, qualifying begins at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 2 – the time prescribed by state law – and runs throughout the week, Olivia explained.

Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young informed FYN that qualifying for Republican candidates will take place at the Towns County Courthouse in the Jury Room on the upper level. The hours scheduled are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from March 2 through March 5, and from 9 a.m. until noon sharp on Friday, March 6. “We will have some board members helping at different times,” Young added.

The General Primary will be held Tuesday, May 19. The voter registration deadline to cast a General Primary ballot is April 20, 2020.

“The last date in which an individual can register and be eligible to vote in the Presidential Preference Primary, Special Election, and Special Election Runoff is February 24, 2020,” Olivia said. “Advance (Early) Voting begins on March 02, 2020, and ends on March 20, 2020. Advance Voting will be held at the office of the Towns County Board of Elections and Registration located at 76 Lakeview Circle; Suite A in Hiawassee, Georgia from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., including one Saturday, March 14, 2020.”

Click to register to vote online

Click to view full election calendar

The earliest date for voters to submit an absentee ballot for the General Primary Election is March 31. Advanced in Person Early Voting begins on April 27, 2020.

Continue to follow FYN for information as the 2020 election cycle progresses.


FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach. Approximately 15,000 viewers visit FYNTV.com

If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com



Sheriff, coroner candidates to speak at Republican meeting

Election, News
2020 candidates Towns County

HIAWASSEE, Ga.- As qualifying quickly approaches, five Towns County sheriff candidates and two coroner candidates are scheduled to briefly address the Towns County Republican Party on Thursday, Feb. 27. The monthly GOP meeting, which typically meets on the third Thursday of each month, was rescheduled due to winter weather conditions.

House Representative and the U.S. Congressional candidate Matt Gurtler was invited to speak at the canceled session, and according to the GOP, cannot attend on the alternate date due to a scheduling conflict.

Towns County GOP

Towns County GOP Chair Betsy Young

In addition to hearing from the county candidates, Towns County Republican Chair Betsy Young informed FYN that the meeting will feature opening exercises by local students, along with a discussion on the Precinct Caucus and County Convention.

Towns County sheriff candidates, listed in the order of their announcement to seek office, are as follow:

  • Daren “Bear’ Osborn
  • Kenneth “Ode” Henderson
  • Linda J. Curtis
  • Jim Couch
  • Lisa Joseph


Towns County coroner candidates are:

  • Harold Copeland – incumbent
  • Tamela Cooper


All candidates intend to run on the Republican primary ticket, May 19. No Democratic candidates have announced intent to seek office in Towns County at the time of publication. Office of the Commissioner, Tax Commissioner, Probate Judge, and Clerk of Court remain uncontested thus far. Official qualification for candidacy, however, takes place during the week of March 2.

“The Towns County Republican Party does not endorse any candidate or candidate’s committee in a contested Republican Primary,” Young stated.

The Feb. 27 meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Towns County Civic Center, adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.

“The Changes to the By-laws or Rules as referred to from now on, of the Republican Party of Towns County, are presented below, per requirement to be voted on the following meeting, March 19, 2020,” GOP Chair Young stated in an email.

As adopted on
A.  Definitions:
1.  Code:  Georgia Election Code, O.C.G.A. §183-1, et seq., as existing at the time of adoption of these Rules and as may be amended from time to time.
2.  County Committee:  As defined in Article II.C, below.
3.  Executive Committee:  As defined in Article II.D, below.
4.  Georgia GOP Rules:  The Rules of the Georgia Republican Party, Inc., as existing at the time of adoption of these Rules and as may be amended from time to time.
5.  National GOP Rules:  The Rules of the Republican National Committee, as existing at the time of adoption of these rules and as may be amended from time to time.
6.  Ninth District Rules:  The Ninth District Republic Party of Georgia Rules, as existing at the time of adoption of these Rules and as may be amended from time to time.
7.  Quorum:  As defined in Article II.J.3, below.
8.  Rules:  These Rules of the Republican Party of Towns County, Inc.
9.  TCGOP:  The Republican Party of Towns County, Inc., a Georgia nonprofit corporation
10.  TCGOP Beliefs:  Those certain beliefs enumerated in Article I.B.2 herein.
B.  Mission and TCGOP Beliefs:
1.  Mission.  The purpose of the TCGOP is to elect Republicans to public office; identify, recruit, cultivate and support Republican candidates for elective office and conservative candidates for nonpartisan offices; promote conservative values in local, state and national communities; promote the TCGOP Beliefs; and carry out the legal direction of the district, state and national Republican organizations.
2.  TCGOP Beliefs.  The TCGOP believes in:
a.  The U.S. Constitution, as written;
b.  States’ rights;
c.  a limited roll for government intervention into individuals’ work for prosperity
d.  the right to life, from conception to natural death;
e.  the idea that each person is responsible for his/her own place within society;
f.  the Voter Identification Law;
g.  one vote for one legal voter within the framework of the electoral college;
h.  the idea that every legal American citizen has a right to vote and for his/her vote to count;
i.  the notion that English should be America’s primary language, spoken and written;
j.  a strong hand against human trafficking;
k.  a strong stance against sharia law;
l.  supporting the Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and
m.  supporting our military, law enforcement and first responders.
C.  Qualifications for Participation in Party Action: All qualified voters under the laws of the State of Georgia who are residents of Towns County, Georgia, and are in accord with the principles of the Republican Party, believe in its declaration of policy and are in agreement with its aims and purposes, may participate as members of the TCGOP in the Conventions and caucuses of the Republican Party in their respective jurisdictions.  All Chairmen and Members of Committees, Delegates and Alternates to Conventions and voters in caucuses, provided for in these Rules, shall be members of the TCGOP and must be qualified, registered voters of the respective precincts which they represent and shall have signed a declaration of identification with the Republican Party.
D.  Relation of State and County RulesThese Rules are adopted pursuant to the Georgia GOP Rules.  Should any of these Rules conflict with or be incompatible with the Georgia GOP Rules, the Georgia GOP Rules shall control.
E.  State Election LawsThese Rules, where appropriate, shall be subject to the Code.  Terms used but not defined herein shall have the definitions ascribed thereto in the Code.
A.   NAMEThe name of the organization shall be the Republican Party of Towns County, Inc., herein referred to as the “TCGOP”.
B.  Membership of the  TCGOP:  The TCGOP shall consist of the County Committee, the Executive Committee and such other members-at-large as shall qualify under these Rules.   The TCGOP may, upon a two-thirds vote of a quorum present, enlarge the Executive Committee as additional Republicans are elected to office and as additional precincts become organized.  Use of the word “chairman” is intended to refer to either sex.
C.  County Committee:  The County Committee may consist of any or all of the following members, with a minimum of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer:

  1. County Chairman
  2. First Vice Chairman
  3. Second Vice Chairman
  4. Third Vice Chairman
  5. District Chairmen (one from each Commission District)
  6. Secretary
  7. Assistant Secretary
  8. Treasurer
  9. Assistant Treasurer
  10. Parliamentarian
  11. Immediate Past County Chairman
  12. Chairman, Elections
  13. Chairman, Membership Committee
  14. Chairman, Communications
  15. Chairman, Headquarters Operations
  16. Director of Community Outreach
  17. Chairman, Community Relations
  18. Chairman, Rules Committee
  19. Chairman, Resource Development Committee
  20. Precinct Chairmen, from each organized Precinct
  21. Authorized Voting Members: All individuals listed below qualify as members of the TCGOP and may participate in its business, upon oral or written notification to the Secretary:
    1. All previous Chairmen of the County Committee;
    2. the present and all past Chairmen of the Ninth Congressional District Republican Committee provided that they are residents of Towns County;
    3. the present and all past Chairmen of the Georgia Republican Party provided that they are residents of Towns County;
    4. Georgia GOP State Committee Members residing in Towns County;
    5. incumbent Republican public office holders within Towns County; and
    6. the Presidents/Chairmen of any Towns County Area Young Republican Clubs, Federation of Republican Women’s Clubs, Black Republican Councils, or College Republican Clubs which are sanctioned by their respective State and National Organization and provided they are residents of Towns County.

22.  Members-at-Large: Shall be admitted upon their signature of their membership card acknowledging their accordance with the TCGOP Beliefs and payment in full of their annual dues.
D.  Executive Committee of the TCGOPThere shall be an Executive Committee of the TCGOP composed of members listed in Article II.C.1 through II.C.21.  The Executive Voting members shall include those listed in Article II.C.1 through II.C.11.  (The Assistant Secretary and the Assistant Treasurer shall only have voting rights in the absence of the Secretary and the Treasurer).  The County Chairman shall be the Chairman of the Executive Committee.  At the call of the Chairman, the Executive Committee shall conduct the routine business of the TCGOP and act in emergencies when there would not be adequate time to convene the full membership of the TCGOP.t the routine business of the
E.  Election of the TCGOP OfficersAll persons holding office as listed in Article II.C.1. through II.C.9, as well as the Delegates and Alternates to the District and State Conventions, shall be nominated and elected at the County Convention held pursuant to the call of the Georgia State Republican Committee subject to the following exceptions:
1.  District Chairmen: Within the four-week period following the Precinct Caucuses held pursuant to the State Call in each District, or within the four-week period following a vacancy created for any reason, the elected Precinct Chairmen from the precincts in that District shall meet to elect a resident of that District to be the District Chairman to serve on the TCGOP.  If no election has been held prior to the County Convention, this election may be held during a recess of the County Convention.  If a reasonable effort to fill the TCGOP District Chairman position for a particular District fails, the position may be filled from members of other Districts.
2.  From the electorate of Towns County, the County Chairman may appoint a person to be Counsel to the Party (who shall also be a nonvoting member of the County Committee and Executive Committee) and persons to be Chairmen of the following Committees, or such other Committees as may be appropriate:

  1. Communications/Public Relations: (Shall maintain the TCGOP webpage and membership e-mail roster.  Shall send out communication as directed by the TCGOP Chairman.  Shall post updates on TCGOP Facebook Page.)
  2. Community Outreach: (Shall be responsible for organizing community outreach and attending local civic clubs and groups (such as the Rotary Club) on behalf of the party.  Shall plan events to increase party membership.)
  3. Elections: (Shall work in conjunction with the Board of Elections related to election dates and candidate qualifying.)
  4. Headquarters Operations: (Shall be responsible for the day-to-day operations of TCGOP Headquarters: volunteers, event preparation, mail.  Shall be responsible for maintenance and repairs of the TCGOP Headquarters.  Shall work in conjunction with the building landlord.)
  5. Membership: (Shall be responsible for member recruitment and membership roster.)
  6. Resource Development: (Shall be responsible for planning and coordinating fundraising activities for TCGOP.)
  7. Rules: (Shall be responsible for updating and maintaining the By-Laws for TCGOP.)

3.  Precinct Chairmen: Elected at the caucuses
4.  Authorized Voting Members: Become members upon proper notification to the   TCGOP as outlined in Article II.C.21.
F.  Election of County Members to the Ninth District Committee:
1.  The total number of members elected shall be determined as specified in the Ninth District Rules, Article 1.1.
2.  Pursuant to Article 2.2.B.4 of the Ninth District Rules, the County Chairman shall serve on the Ninth District Executive Committee; unless said Chairman otherwise declines not to serve in writing to the District Secretary.
3.  Pursuant to Article 2 of the Ninth District Rules, additional members may be added.  These members shall be elected by the County Chairman and an interim Nominating Committee.  The Nominating Committee Members shall be appointed every odd-year to serve an interim period (to only conduct the business of this committee), by the County Chairman as follows: consisting of members from the Executive Committee and the members-at-large.
4.  Members shall be elected, each odd year, to the Ninth District Committee for a two-year term.  Any vacancies may be filled at the discretion of the County Chairman with the approval of the Executive Committee.
G.  Term of Office of the TCGOPThe officers and members of the TCGOP shall be elected for a term of two years or until their successors are duly elected.  Officers (as listed in Article II.C.1- 4, and 6 – 9) may serve a maximum of two consecutive two-year terms in the same position.
H.  Vacancies on the TCGOP:

  1. A vacancy is deemed to exist upon the happening of any one of the following:
    1. Death
    2. Resignation
    3. Failure to be a voter of Towns County.
    4. Failure of the voters in a precinct to organize.
    5. Failure of the Precinct Chairmen in organized precincts to elect a District Chairman.
    6. Extended failure to act.  Such failure shall be determined by a two-thirds majority vote of a quorum present at any duly called meeting of the TCGOP.  Provided, however, that the individual involved is given notice of such meeting mailed at least 30 days in advance thereof, setting forth the grounds therefore, and is given an opportunity to be present and heard in person.  Extended failure to act as used herein shall include continued failure to perform his/her duties or participate in the affairs of the Party, or conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Party, all as may be determined by the aforesaid vote of the TCGOP.
    7. A vacancy shall include any office not filled by the County Convention.
  1. Vacancies in any of the offices comprising the Executive Committee, with the exception of the District Chairmen and the immediate Past Chairman of the TCGOP, shall be filled by election at a regular or special meeting of the TCGOP.
  2. Vacancies in the office of the District Chairman or Precinct Chairman in organized or unorganized precincts shall be filled by eligible persons appointed by the Executive Committee on an interim basis.  At the next regular or special meeting of the TCGOP, such an appointment shall be confirmed as a member of the TCGOP by a majority vote of those present.
  3. Upon the happening of any of the events described above or the certification by a duly licensed physician that the County Chairman is incapable to act or conduct the usual and ordinary business of the County Party, such certification is to be referred to the County Party, such certification is to be referred to the TCGOP for action.  In the event that the TCGOP takes action to remove the Chairman, the First Vice Chairman shall assume the duties and position of County Chairman.  Should the First Vice Chairman decline to accept the position of Chairman, he/she shall call a special meeting of the TCGOP for the purpose of electing a new Chairman.  The First Vice Chairman would continue to serve until the end of his term.
  4. Vacancies in any of the Committee Chairmen positions appointed by the County Chairman, as listed in Article II.E.2, shall be replaced at the discretion of the County Chairman with the approval of the Executive Committee.

I.  Removal from Office
1.   TCGOP Members: any member listed in Article II.C.1 through II.C.22 may be removed from office or membership for cause by a two-thirds vote of a quorum present, by secret ballot, at any duly called meeting of the TCGOP; provided however, such individual must be given written notice of said meeting mailed or circulated by written electronic communication at least 30 days in advance thereof, setting forth the grounds for removal, and given the opportunity to be heard in person or by his/her representative.  “Cause” as used herein shall include:
a.  Failure to perform duties of his/her office for an unreasonable period of time, as determined by the Executive Committee with the approval of the TCGOP
b.  Failure to participate in the affairs of the Party
c.  Conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Party
d.  Public service or professional service to any candidate in opposition to the official Republican candidate in a general election by an elected officer shall constitute conduct detrimental to the best interests of the party
2.  As soon as an officer qualifies to run for an elected public office (including non-partisan races) for which at least one other Republican has also qualified, he/she shall be deemed to have resigned.  Any officer who qualifies as a candidate for an elected public office (including non-partisan races) for which no other Republican has also qualified shall be deemed to have resigned immediately upon being elected to that office.  As soon as an officer qualifies as a candidate for elected office as a candidate of any political party other than the Republican Party, he/she shall be deemed to have resigned all positions on the County, Municipal, Precinct, or other TCGOP governing committees.
3.  Whenever the Executive Committee and TCGOP determine the Chairman or other officer is subject to removal for cause as defined in Article II.J.1.a.  through d., or Article II.J.2, and remedial action has not been taken, and the 30-day notification period has expired, the TCGOP shall remove such Chairman or officer and shall appoint a new Chairman or officer.  The Chairman or officer appointed shall perform the duties of the office until his/her successor is duly elected at a County Convention.
J.  Meetings of the TCGOP:
1.  Regular Meetings:  The TCGOP shall hold regular meetings at least quarterly, but may hold monthly meetings, at the pleasure of the Chairman, generally on the third Thursday of each month. In case of a conflict, the Chairman may schedule the meeting on another day of the month.  In the event of exceptional circumstances, the Executive Committee may cancel a scheduled meeting with immediate notice to all TCGOP Members.  Notice of such meetings shall be emailed or mailed to all members of the TCGOP and mailed to members who do not have an email address on file at least 10 days prior to the date of the meeting.  As referred to in these Rules, these are considered to be regular meetings.
2.  Special Meetings: The Chairman may call special meetings if he/she chooses to do so, provided proper notice as detailed in Article II.J.1 above is given.  When requested in writing by at least 15% of the total membership of TCGOP, the Chairman must call a special meeting.  Such special meeting must be held within 15 days of the receipt of the request by the Chairman.  If, and only if, the meeting notice so specifies, other items of TCGOP business may be considered.  Should the Chairman fail to call such a special meeting, then a mailed notice, signed by the 15% of the TCGOP members requesting said special meeting, shall constitute proper notice of the special meeting.  Such notice shall specify the date, time, place and purpose of the special meeting.  In the absence of the Chairman, the First Vice Chairman shall preside over this special meeting.
3.  Quorum: A quorum is constituted upon the attendance of a majority of the members of the TCGOP at a meeting, in person or by proxy.  We hereby acknowledge that one person may serve in multiple positions, however, there shall be a one person one vote rule.  No more than a total of three proxies may be counted in order to establish a quorum.
4.  Proxies:

  1. A member may direct his/her proxy to any other member of the TCGOP, except that no proxy may be directed to, or voted by, the Chairman.
  2. Members of the Executive Committee may direct his/her proxy only to another member of the Executive Committee.
  3. No TCGOP member may vote more than three proxies.
  4. No member may give his/her proxy more than four times during their term of office, unless, in the opinion of the TCGOP, good cause exists.
  5. Proxy blanks are to be included with the call to each meeting in the form set forth in the Ninth District rules.

J.  Duties of the TCGOPThe TCGOP, in its entirety, shall call the County Conventions and Precinct Caucuses or County Primary, make arrangements therefore, fix the basis of representation by Delegates and Alternates to the County Convention consistent with the State Rules, and shall set the time and place for holding the County Convention.  It shall cooperate with the State Committee and its Congressional District Committee in conducting all elections within its boundaries.  The TCGOP shall decide all controversies and contests arising within its jurisdiction, with the right to appeal to the District Committee within 30 days after the decision by a petition signed by at least 25 qualified Republican electors of the political unit affected.

  1. County Chairman:
  1. Is the Chief Executive Officer and spokesperson of the TCGOP and shall perform all duties required by these Rules.
  2. Shall convene the TCGOP as the Rules and needs of the Party dictate.
  3. Presides at all TCGOP meetings and all Executive Committee meetings.
  4. Appoints committees called for in the Rules and such other committees he/she may deem desirable.
  5. Shall appoint a presiding officer for Precinct caucuses in those instances when the Precinct Chairman is unable to attend.
  6. Presides at all County Conventions.
  7. Appoints interim County Convention committees and their respective Chairmen subject to the approval of the TCGOP.
  8. Is responsible for the general direction and affairs of the Party.
  9. Must review and approve all outgoing correspondence to be emailed, mailed or distributed to the TCGOP at large or to the public.  The County Chairman may designate this duty from time-to-time to the First Vice Chairman to make such approvals.

All officers shall assist the County Chairman
C.  First Vice Chairman
1.  As provided for in the Rules, presides in the absence of the Chairman.
2.  Shall assist the Treasurer with the Finance Committee and the Chairmen of the Rules, Resource Development, and Headquarters Operations Committees.
D.  Second Vice Chairman.  Shall assist the District Chairmen and the Chairmen of the Elections and Membership Committees.
E.  Third Vice Chairman.  Shall assist the Chairmen of the Community Outreach and Communications/Public Relations Committees.
F.  Treasurer.  The Treasurer shall have the following responsibilities and duties:
1.  Shall have custody and responsibility of the funds of the TCGOP, and shall deposit said funds in a bank selected by the Executive Committee.  These funds may be drawn as prescribed or approved by the Executive Committee.
2.  Shall collect and deposit all funds at least monthly.
3.  Shall prepare all checks and sign them, together with one other Officer designated on the bank account.  In the absence of the Treasurer, checks may be prepared by the Assistant Treasurer and signed by the Assistant Treasurer, together with the County Chairman or First Vice Chairman.  No officer may sign a non-operational check in excess of $500 without the prior approval of the Executive Committee.  No disbursements shall be made without an invoice, paid receipt or written request.
4.  Shall make and keep an accurate record of all income and disbursements and have available at all Executive and TCGOP meetings a current financial report summarizing income, expense, assets and liabilities of the TCGOP.
5.  Shall serve on the Resource Development Committee, as applicable.  This committee, if formed, shall track financial status, provide oversight and prepare an annual budget for each new year for review and approval by the Executive Committee by December of the current year.
6.  Shall, in the event the Executive Committee believes it to be in the best interest of the TCGOP, prepare an internal audit of the records of the Treasurer to be presented to the TCGOP, and shall work with all relevant Committees in the preparation of any such audit.
G.  Assistant Treasurer.  In the absence of the Treasurer, the Assistant Treasurer shall perform the duties of the Treasurer.
H.  Secretary
1.  Shall maintain the lists of the Executive, County, District, and State Committee members, contributors, and the like, publish notices and other materials as required by the party rules and/or the Code.  The Secretary shall also record the minutes of all Executive and TCGOP meetings including the date, identity of those in attendance, and a record of all actions taken.  Executive Committee minutes should be emailed or mailed within ten (10) days.  The Secretary shall also determine and announce the status of a quorum at all Executive and TCGOP meetings.  The minutes from the most recent past county meeting shall be emailed or mailed with the notice of each upcoming official-call County meeting sent out by the County Chairman.  All correspondence distributed to the Executive or TCGOP at large or the public must be approved by the County Chairman prior to distribution.
2.  Shall, or shall direct the County Chairman to, maintain a “Minute Book” with the minutes from all meetings during his/her tenure.  A complete and current copy of said book to be kept at the TCGOP office. If the TCGOP has no office, the TCGOP Chairman shall retain the copy of the Minute Book.
3.  Shall, or shall direct the County Chairman to, maintain an official TCGOP “Member List Book” with a list of the names and contact information of all Executive Committee, TCGOP, TCGOP Members of the Ninth District Committee, Towns County Republican elected officials, and GA State GOP Members who are current TCGOP participants.  Said book to be kept at TCGOP office.  If the TCGOP has no office, the TCGOP Chairman shall retain the copy of the Member List Book.
I.  Assistant Secretary.  In the absence of the Secretary, the Assistant Secretary shall perform the duties of the Secretary.
J.  District Chairmen

  1. Serve on the Executive Committee.
  2. Be responsible for assisting in the recruitment of Precinct Chairmen in their District.
  3. Maintain periodic contact with Precinct Chairmen in their District.
  4. Assist in obtaining poll watchers during elections.

K.  Precinct Chairmen

  1. Be responsible for maintaining contact with the voters in their precinct.
  2. Assist with the conduct of voter canvasses.
  3. Assist with recruitment of Poll Watchers.

L.  Duties/Responsibilities for Vice Chairmen, District Chairs, Precinct Chairs, Committee Chairmen
1.  Will establish an action plan and objectives.
2.  Will submit said action plan to the Executive Committee within thirty (30) days after being elected to or accepting said position.
The TCGOP membership application and donor fees shall be determined by the Membership Committee with the approval of the Executive Committee or, in the absence of a Membership Committee, by the Executive Committee.
A.  The call for Conventions and Caucuses shall conform to the Ninth District Rules, the Georgia GOP Rules, the National GOP Rules and the Code.
B.  The conduct of Precinct Caucuses and the designating of Delegates and Alternates to the County Convention shall conform to the Ninth District Rules, the Georgia GOP Rules, the National GOP Rules and the Code.
C.  Interim Committees: The County Chairman shall appoint the following Interim County Convention Committees and their respective Chairmen subject to the approval of the TCGOP at the January quarterly meeting held in odd-numbered years and in Presidential Election years:

  1. Nominating Committee
  2. Rules Committee
  3. Credentials Committee
  4. Platform Committee
  5. Resolutions Committee

Each Committee may consist of a Chairman plus three to six members.  No person may serve on more than one Committee.  Each Interim Committee shall have a majority of members who are members of the TCGOP.
D.  Delegates and Alternate Delegates: Persons elected to be Delegates and Alternates to the District and State Conventions shall be allocated among the Commission Districts pro rata in accordance with the number of votes cast therein for the Republican candidate for President in the last General Election provided, as a sufficient number of Republicans living in a District desire to so participate.  If a reasonable effort to fill the allotted number of Delegates and Alternates in a District fails, vacancies may be filled with persons from other Districts.
E.  Any contested races elections shall be conducted by secret ballot.
A.  These Rules may be amended at any County Convention by a majority vote or at any regular meeting (or special meeting called for such purpose) by a two-thirds vote of a quorum present.  With respect to action to amend by the TCGOP, such meeting must be duly held and written notice setting forth in detail; the proposed intention to amend the Rules shall accompany the emailed and/or mailed notice of the meeting.
A.  Except to the extent modified by these Rules, Robert’s Rules of Order (latest revision) shall govern the conduct of all meetings.

For additional information, contact Betsy Young at [email protected]

Couch’s history surfaces as sheriff’s election heats up

Election, News
Jim Couch - Towns County sheriff electionnews

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – As qualification for the Towns County sheriff’s election approaches, FYN received information on the law enforcement career of Jim Couch, a contender for Office of Sheriff, from separate opponents.

A received document contained a press release from Georgia State Patrol (GSP) Commander Capt. Keith Canup concerning an alleged mishandling of the 2015 Southern Worthersee (SoWo) car rally by former Helen Police Chief Couch. Canup stated that there was “no traffic plan in place, there was no plan to deal with the large crowds, nor was there a contingency plan to deal with civil disorder” despite the city previously hosting the popular event.

According to media coverage, over 2,800 people were “out of control,” breaking vehicle windows and attempting to overturn a rollback tow truck, while hurling rocks and bottles at officers, and committing acts of vandalism. Approximately 28,000 participants were reported as present at the rally.

“Chief Couch was told upfront that the role of GSP would be to make sure the mayhem did not spill out into the surrounding county and the Troopers would not actively patrol the town, or police his streets,” Capt. Canup said, in part, in the press release. “Our goal was to prevent the mountainous roads outside Helen from becoming race tracks, to prevent reckless conduct in general, and to apprehend drunk drivers. I felt that a lawless environment was created and allowed to exist for the sake of tourism. Had the SOWO crowd descended upon Helen uninvited GSP would have gladly taken the lead on maintaining order, but that was simply not the case…

“Had the Georgia State Patrol entered the town we could not have stood idly by and condoned the illegal and reckless activities that were being encouraged without taking enforcement action. We certainly would not have signed off on closing a state highway without the existence of an emergency circumstance warranting such action. I understand the state route was closed by Chief Couch for the purpose of allowing the SOWO cars to do burnouts. State Troopers aren’t wired to allow the law to be broken a little bit. You can’t have the presence of Troopers absence the presence of enforcement. They are one in the same.”

Click to read the full statement from Georgia State Patrol

FYN provided Couch, who hired a Gainesville public relations firm to manage his 2020 sheriff’s campaign, an opportunity to respond to the state law enforcement agency’s assessment of the situation.

“As a law enforcement professional for more than 40 years, my first and foremost priority has always been the safety of the residents of the communities I serve as well as the officers who work with me, whom I have dedicated my life to protecting,” Couch’s statement reads in full. “As anyone in this profession may understand, there are moments when one must calmly and rationally assess a situation and do what is best for the safety of all involved parties in order to keep the peace.

Jim Couch - Towns County sheriff electionnews

Jim Couch (center) with retiring Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton (left) and retiring White County Sheriff Neal Walden at Couch’s Jan. 25 campaign meet-&-greet.

“During my time as the Chief of Police in Helen, there was an occurrence that required me to put my experience in law enforcement to use. Following the 2015 Southern Worthersee event, which is a large annual gathering of car enthusiasts, some number of those gathered became unruly as the night progressed, eventually forcing one road to be closed due to their presence. I assessed the surroundings and the individuals involved and took what I believed to be the best and safest avenue for all involved by making my request for them to disperse and allowing those gathered a short time to comply with this request. As a peace officer, I believed then and still believe that it was my duty to obtain order and minimize any possibility of damage or violence toward businesses, residences or individuals in Helen.

“I believe it takes a calm and level head to maintain peace during a situation of rising tension, and I do not doubt that I did what was right in that situation at the time. I regret any miscommunication that resulted in unwarranted criticism of GSP’s role or the actions of its Troopers. I appreciate all the law enforcement officers and agencies that worked together that night to ensure this situation was handled in a way that best protected our community, its residents and those gathered. It has been and continues to be my privilege to be in a career of service, and I look forward to serving Towns County today and in the days and years to come.”

Participants described the SoWo event – which was prohibited from returning to Helen by city leaders – as chaotic and riotous. “It was a madhouse when we were there during the day,” an attendee wrote on social media shortly after the event. “I am glad we weren’t there at night.”

Couch, who currently serves as a captain with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, resigned from his position as Helen’s police chief two months after the rally took place.


UPDATED: Towns County Sheriff Candidates’ Forum planned for mid-March

Election, News
Towns County Sheriff Election

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – A candidate forum for the contenders in the Towns County sheriff’s race will be held Saturday, March 14 at 6 p.m. at the Towns County Civic Center, adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse in Hiawassee.

UPDATE: The venue was changed to Towns County High School.

Dr. John Van Vliet, Professor of Business and Public Policy at Young Harris College, will moderate the forum.

“It’s going to be a wonderful time for us to get questions,” Towns County GOP Chairwoman Betsy Young said.  “You can write your questions. There will be no questions from the floor. We’ve also got a committee and there will be no ‘gotcha’ questions or personal questions. It’s going to be strictly on policy.”

Dr John Van Vliet

Dr. John Van Vliet will moderate the candidate forum.

The doors will open at 5 p.m, and written questions will be accepted for review until 5:45 p,m. Light refreshments will be served.

“We’ll draw numbers out of a box, and in that order, (the candidates) will be asked questions,” Young explained “The same question will be asked to each candidate, and Candidate 1 answers the question first. The next question will go to Candidate 2, so then it will rotate so that Candidate 1 will then get an opportunity to hear the answers to the other questions. There will be an opening of two minutes, in the beginning, then there will be a closing of three (minutes).”

At the time of publication, five candidates have announced their bids to seek Office of Sheriff on the Republican ticket: Daren “Bear” Osborn. Kenneth “Ode” Henderson, Linda J. Curtis, Jim Couch, and Lisa Joseph.

Qualification will take place during the first week of March. The primary election date is set for May 19, 2020.


FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach. Approximately 15,000 viewers visit FYNTV.com If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com


Capt. Jim Couch announces bid for Towns County Sheriff

Election, Press Release
Jim Couch - Towns County


HIAWASSEE, Ga.— Building upon an entire career of public service as a law enforcement leader, Jim Couch is pleased to announce his candidacy for Office of Sheriff of Towns County.

Currently a captain with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office, Couch brings 41 years of wide-ranging law enforcement experience, including in large metro departments as well as small and medium communities.

“It has been an honor for me to serve the people of Towns County,” Couch said. “I feel that my years of experience uniquely qualify me to lead the Towns County Sheriff’s Office into the next decade. I am confident that my knowledge and training will allow me to structure and prepare the agency to manage the growth that is inevitable in this area.”

Towns County’s primary election is May 19 with the General election set for November 3.

Couch will run as a Republican. Couch began his law enforcement career in 1978 as a dispatcher with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. In the early years of his career, after graduating from North Central Georgia Law Enforcement Academy, he worked for several metro Atlanta departments including M.A.R.T.A Police Department, Cobb County and Marietta Police Departments, and Douglasville and Powder Springs Police Departments.

He and his family have been North Georgia residents since 1996, when he accepted a position with the White County Sheriff’s Office under the leadership of Sheriff Neal Walden. Prior to that he was employed with the Fulton County Marshal’s Department as a Deputy Marshal/Sergeant. He also served with the Georgia Army National Guard from 1986-1994 and was called to active duty in 1990-1991 during Desert Shield/Storm. Couch received an Honorable Discharge in 1994.

While at the White County Sheriff’s Office, he was named Captain/Patrol Division Commander before accepting the position of Police Chief with the City of Helen in 2012. In 2015, Couch accepted a position with the Towns County Sheriff’s Office where he serves as Captain over Field Operations under the leadership of Sheriff Chris Clinton.

“My wife Julie and I are proud to call Towns County home,” Couch said. “We are deeply invested in this area, and I understand how important the bonds of a community can be for families. As we now look at our adult children raising their own kids, I want to make sure I do all I can to help build safer, healthier communities for the people of Towns County.”

Click to read: Couch’s history surfaces as sheriff’s election heats up



FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach. Approximately 15,000 viewers visit FYNTV.com

If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com



Fire chief to seek second term as coroner

Fire Chief - Coroner Harold Copeland

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Fire Chief-Coroner Harold Copeland announced on the evening of Jan. 6 that he would seek a second term as county coroner.

“It is with much humility and my deepest respect for the citizens of Towns County, that I humbly ask for your support once again, for the Office of Coroner,” Copeland stated. “I have served on the fire department for 35 years, in many different positions, and five years as fire chief. I also work part-time with the Young Harris College Police Department. I was elected to the coroner’s office in 2016, and I am asking for your support this May, as I run on the Republican ticket once again.”

At the time of publication, no other contenders have publicly challenged Copeland in the 2020 race.

coroner is a government official who is empowered to conduct or order an inquest into the manner or cause of death and investigate or confirm the identity of an unknown person who has been found dead within the coroner’s jurisdiction.

In the state of Georgia, a coroner must be at least 25 years old, registered to vote, and in possession of a high school diploma. Medical experience is not required. In 1777, Georgia was the first state to mention the Office of Coroner in its constitution. Georgia is among 27 states that continue to elect local death investigators. Four of the other 26 states require coroners to be physicians, and one state requires that coroners must be licensed medical professionals.


FetchYourNews.com attracts over 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month with a 60,000 Facebook page reach, and approximately 15,000 viewers per week visit FYNTV.com

If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Towns County voters to use new equipment in 2020

Towns County Board of Elections

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Board of Elections Chair Janet Olivia advised the community Dec. 22 that Towns County voters should expect to use updated voting machines to cast their ballots in the 2020 election. “Georgia voters will be using a new method of voting in 2020, utilizing Ballot Marking Devices (BMDs),” Olivia said. “These devices will be comprised of two parts: an electronic tablet (touchscreen) that will allow the voter to make his or candidate selections, and an attached printer, which will then print the voter’s selections on a paper ballot. The voter then has an opportunity to review his/her selections prior to casting the ballot.

“Once the voter is satisfied with the ballot, he or she will then enter the paper ballot into an ImageCast Precinct (ICP) Scanning Device to cast the ballot. The touchscreen tablets do not record any data, only the scanners. Each voting station in a precinct will include the two-component working station with privacy accommodations. The stations are equipped for persons who are visually or hearing impaired. For persons who are disabled and voting in person, please contact any poll worker onsite so that you avoid standing in line.”

Janet Olivia

Towns County Board of Elections Chair Janet Olivia

Olivia explained that the paper ballot that is printed is not a receipt. Instead, it is a potential ballot that has yet to be cast. Once the voter places the ballot into the ICP scanner. Towns County will have one per precinct and one at the Advanced Voting location, then the ballot will be recorded and the voter’s selections will then be counted.

“Poll workers will be onsite to assist voters with any issues that arise with the BMDs and the ICP Scanning Devices.,” Olivia added. “We also will be using new ‘check-in’ devices that should expedite voter lines. New poll pads are equipped to scan driver licenses and allow the voter to electronically sign his or her name in lieu of signing a written form on election days.”

Olivia stated that the Towns County Board of Elections is in the process of launching a Facebook page to inform voters of election-related updates.

Guide to Towns County’s 2020 elections

Election, News
Towns County Election Guide

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Six Towns County seats are open for election in 2020, including Office of the Sole Commissioner, Office of the Sheriff, County Coroner, County Tax Commissioner, Judge of Probate Court, and Superior Clerk of Court.

The primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, 2020. In the event of a run-off, a deciding vote to advance to the general election will be held on Tuesday, July 21. General election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.

The deadline for primary voter registration is April 20, and Oct. 5 for the general election.

Click here to register to vote

The earliest date for candidate qualification is Tuesday, March 3. Qualifying fees are calculated at 3-percent of the elected official’s gross salary during the previous year. According to the Towns County Board of Elections, qualifying fees are to be publicly announced prior to Feb. 1, 2020.Vote - Towns County GA

Candidates for Sole County Commissioner are required to have been a resident of Towns County for at least 12 months prior to the election, must be a qualified voter, must be a citizen of the state, and must have attained the age of 21 years.

Qualifying factors for the Office of the Sheriff are as follows:

  1. Must have been a resident of the county for at least two years immediately preceding the date of
    qualifying for election to the office.
  2. Must be a registered voter and have attained the age of at least 25 at the time of qualifying as a
  3.  Must have obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent in educational training as
    established by the Georgia Peace Officer Standards and Training Council.
  4.  Must be a citizen of the United States.
  5.  Must not have been convicted of a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary
    to the laws of this state, or any other state, or the United States, provided, however, that a plea of nolo
    contendere to a felony offense or any offense involving moral turpitude contrary to the laws of this state
    shall have the same effect as a plea of guilty, thereby disqualifying such a person from holding the
    office of sheriff.
  6. Must be fingerprinted and have a search made of local, state, and national fingerprint files to
    disclose any criminal record, which fingerprints are to be taken under the direction of the judge of the
    probate court, and must be taken on or before, but no later than, the close of business on the third
    business day following the close of such a qualification period.
  7. Must give a complete written history of his or her places of residence for a period of six years
    immediately preceding the qualification date, giving house number or RFD number, street, city,
    county, and state as well as a complete written history of his or her places of employment for a period
    of six years immediately preceding the qualification date, giving the period of time employed, and name
    and address of the employer.

Each candidate for the office of sheriff must be a registered peace officer or a certified peace officer. Any person who is not a registered or certified peace officer at the time such person assumes the office of sheriff shall be required to complete satisfactorily the requirements for certification within six months after taking office.

A loyalty oath, which must state that such person will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Georgia and is not a member of the Communist Party is also required for all elected officers of this state.

Candidates for Superior Clerk of Court, Probate Judge, Coroner, and Tax Commissioner:

1. Must have been a resident of the county for at least two years prior to qualifying for election to the
2. Must be a registered voter and must have attained the age of 25 years prior to the date of qualifying for election to the office.
3. Must have obtained a high school diploma or its recognized equivalent.
4. Must be a citizen of the United States.

Superior Clerk of Court, Probate Judge, and Coroner candidates must not have been convicted of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude. Additionally, coroner candidates must have successfully completed the next scheduled class, no longer than 180 days after such person’s election or appointment, of a basic training course provided by the Georgia Police Academy. Coroners in Georgia should achieve 32 hours of training approved by the Georgia Coroner’s Training Council each year pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 45-16-6. Op. Atty. Gen. 90- 41.Towns County 2020 election

The following persons are ineligible to hold any civil office, and the existence of any of the following acts shall be a sufficient reason for vacating any office held by such person, but the acts of such person, while holding a commission, shall be valid as the acts of an officer de facto, namely:

a) Persons who are not citizens of this state and persons under the age of 21 years, provided, however, that upon passage of appropriate ordinances, citizens of this state who are otherwise qualified and who are 18 years old shall be eligible to hold any county or municipal office, other than a judicial office.
b) Persons who are the holders of public funds who have refused or failed to account for and pay over such funds to the proper officer.
c) Persons holding any office of profit or trust under the government of the United States other than that of postmaster and officers and enlisted persons of the armed forces. Membership on any federal commission, panel, or other fact-finding or policy-making agency, where the appointment is temporary and the duties do not interfere materially with the person’s duties as a public officer, shall not bar any person from holding office in this state or acceding to a state office.
d) Persons of unsound mind and persons who, from advanced age or bodily infirmity, are unfit to discharge the duties of the office to which they are chosen or appointed.
e) Persons who are not registered and qualified voters entitled to vote.
f) Persons who have been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude, unless that person’s civil rights have been restored and at least 10 years have elapsed from the date of the completion of the sentence without a subsequent conviction of another felony involving moral turpitude.
g) Persons who have been convicted and sentenced in any court of competent jurisdiction for fraudulent violation of primary or election laws or malfeasance in office unless such person’s civil rights have been restored.
h) Persons who are constitutionally disqualified for any cause.

Follow FYN for continued election coverage as Decision 2020 approaches.

Commissioner Bradshaw to seek second-term in 2020

News, Politics
Commissioner Bradshaw

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw informed FetchYourNews Friday, Sept. 27, that he plans to seek a second-term as an elected official. Following a meeting held in Bradshaw’s courthouse office, the commissioner stated that there is more that he hopes to accomplish in future years.

“I plan on running for re-election. I hope to serve another term,” Commissioner Bradshaw said. “There’s more that I’d like to see happen. I want to continue on the path of controlled growth, welcome more tourism, further improve public safety, and continue working with all of the departments to better serve the citizens.”

Bradshaw was elected as Towns County’s commissioner in 2016, securing 53.81% of the votes on the Republican ticket in May’s primary, and 65.84% in November’s general election. No challengers have publicly entered the race for the commissioner’s seat at the time of publication.

Click for Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw Archives

Featured Image: Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw at a courthouse meeting earlier this year.

Fetch Your News is a now news network that covers Towns, Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Rabun, and Murray counties in northern Georgia, as well as Cherokee and Clay counties in western North Carolina.  Fetch Your News attracts over 300,000 page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month, and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com with an up to 60,000 Facebook page reach.

If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of our counties of coverage, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com


Clinton receives unfavorable response to campaign announcement


EDITORIAL – Mountain Movers and Shakers announced Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton will be their featured speaker at the group’s weekly meeting, Sept. 27. The agenda follows the sheriff’s proclamation before the Towns County Republican Party last week, stating intent to seek re-election in 2020.

If the public’s initial response to the elected official’s announcement is any indication of an approval rating, Clinton’s campaign could prove to be a challenge.

“Perhaps (Sheriff Clinton) will fill us in on the events and expected traffic for the next few months,” Mark Wolchko, a spokesman for Mountain Movers and Shakers, predicted in a press release. “Maybe he will enlighten us about the latest CLEA class. Possibly he will let us know about equipment upgrades in the sheriff’s department. Or maybe he will give us the lowdown on the next appearance of The Chris Clinton Band.”

CLEA, an acronym for the Citizen Law Enforcement Academy, consists primarily of “move-in” retirees whom Sheriff Clinton has referred to as personal “lobbyists” in the past. The group additionally serves as charity fund raisers and security staff at local events, such as concerts at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds.

The majority of Mountain Movers and Shakers’ active participants are CLEA alumni.

Sheriff Clinton shined a spotlight on CLEA during his GOP campaign announcement Thursday evening at the Towns County Civic Center.

“How many folks here have been through CLEA? Do you mind raising your hands? Every group I go to in the county, everywhere we go, I got people sitting in the group that’s been through the citizen law enforcement academy,” Clinton said. “These volunteers, by the end of the year, we hit about 2,000 hours, or about what would amount to me having to ask our commissioner for the $51,000, if we were going to do it ourselves, is being done by volunteers because we have men and women who believe in what we’re doing at the sheriff’s office.”

Should Clinton choose to promote his band at Friday’s meeting, however, citizen feedback could prove less than favorable.


Sheriff Clinton performing on town square in July 2018.

Widespread disapproval of The Chris Clinton Band’s schedule was brought to FetchYourNews’ attention in relation to the 2017 “Great American Eclipse,” an event that was anticipated by Clinton to draw thousands of solar enthusiasts to the Towns County area. Sheriff Clinton, who performs with his wife in the now two-man band, opted to host a concert at a local establishment during the highly publicized event. Members of the Towns County Homeowners’ Association – since renamed the Towns County Civic Association – along with numerous first responders, voiced stern criticism toward Clinton’s priorities.

Chris Clinton - Sheriff

Promotion for the Chris Clinton Band’s 2017 eclipse event.

Scrutiny later emerged in July 2018, following a band performance that corresponded with a deputy missing in action, along with a county inmate, during a wilderness search for alleged human remains near Brasstown Bald.

Public comments concerning the Clintons’ “small business” and the sheriff’s elected performance continue to appear on social media in response to the official’s recent bid for re-election.

Click to read comments and view reactions on original post.

While no contenders for the Office of the Sheriff have entered the race at this time, challengers are expected to announce candidacy in coming weeks.

Sheriff Clinton is scheduled to address Mountain Movers and Shakers this Friday at 8 a.m. at Sundance Grill in Hiawassee.

Meetings are open to the public.

Sheriff Clinton Archives

Feature Image: Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton draws tickets for door prizes at Thursday’s GOP meeting.

Board of Elections to discuss possible closure of Tate City precinct

Tate city

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – FetchYourNews (FYN) was notified that the Towns County Board of Elections plans to discuss the possible closure of the Tate City voting precinct Wednesday, Sept. 11.

“We will be approaching the subject of possibly consolidating the Tate City precinct,” Towns County Elections Supervisor Tonya Nichols said Tuesday. “No votes can be taken to consolidate, based on the code section yet, so this will be the beginning stage of the subject.”

Should the election board unanimously agree to consolidation, Tate City voters could potentially merge with the Macedonia precinct. The next step in the process, if advanced, will be public notification through media sources.

FYN spoke with Towns County Sole Commissioner Cliff Bradshaw on the matter Tuesday afternoon.

“Members of the election board, along with myself, visited Tate City and let residents know that we plan to let them decide whether or not to close it. If they want to keep it open, that’s fine. If they want to close it, great. We explained the difficulty in transporting the new voting machines, and many of the Tate City voters have chosen early voting at the Hiawassee office in the past.”

As of Sept. 10, a total of 43 Towns County residents were registered to vote in the rural town of Tate City. The distance between Tate City and the Macedonia voting precinct is approximately 14 miles.

The Sept. 11 board meeting will be held at the Towns County Elections Office, adjacent to the Towns County Courthouse, at 4 p.m.

The meeting is open to the public.

Follow FYN for updates on future plans for Tate City voters.


Additional Towns County news

Towns County Republican Party prepares for 2020, registers precinct delegates

News, Politics
Towns County GOP

HIAWASSEE. Ga. – Towns County Republican Party held their “mass” county convention at the civic center Saturday, March 9. Hiawassee, Macedonia, and Young Harris precincts were represented. A total of 13 delegates registered. A maximum of 105 delegates were allowed.

Towns County Republican

(L-R) Hiawassee Secretary Betty Phillips and Hiawassee Chair Donna Barrow

Former Towns County Secretary Scott Ledford led the meeting. “We are here, essentially, to start 2020,” Ledford began. Resolutions that will advance to the 9th District include support for House Bill 481, restricting abortion, Constitutional Carry, which would eliminate the need for gun permits, support for a study panel to assist veterans’ transitions to civilian life, support for a balanced state budget, term limits for political leaders, and “strong support” for the rights of solely United States citizens to vote. A resolution to repeal the 17th Amendment – which allows the people to elect state senators, rather than by governmental appointment – failed.

Delegates representing Hiawassee are Chair Donna Barrow, Secretary Betty Phillips, GOP Chair Betsy Young, GOP First Vice Chair John Alger, Cecil Dye, and Trina Coleman.

Chuck Luca

(L-R) Young Harris Chair Chuck Luca and Young Harris Secretary Betty Luca

(L-R) Macedonia Secretary Todd Tibbets and Macedonia Chair Daren Osborn

Delegates representing Macedonia are Chair Daren “Bear” Osborn, Secretary Todd Tibbets, Jeff Pierot, and Melissa Griggs.

Delegates representing Young Harris are Chair Charles “Chuck” Luca, Secretary Betty Luca, Scott Ledford, and Harvey Cohen.

Tate City was permitted one delegate although no residents attended.

The delegates will represent Towns County at the upcoming district and state conventions.


1100+ early ballots cast in run-off election

Election 2018

HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The election in the 2018 run-off race between Georgia Secretary of State and Public Service Commission will be decided tomorrow, Dec. 4, and during last week’s early voting, a total of 1,136 Towns County voters had cast their ballots at the Hiawassee precinct.

The breakdown, obtained by FYN from the Towns County Board of Elections, revealed that 1,114 voters arrived in person at the polls, while 22 submitted absentee ballots by mail.

A total of 6,166 ballots were cast in Towns County during the 2018 general election, a voter turnout of 65.69%

The Hiawassee, Macedonia, Young Harris, and Tate City polling prercincts will be open on Tuesday, Dec. 4, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Towns County Elections Director Tonya Nichols said that three voting machines will be available at the assigned locations.

For the office of Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger faces Democrat John Barrow. In the race for Public Service Commission, Republican Chuck Eaton verses Democrat Lindy Miller.

Count on FYN to deliver local and state results in real-time on election night.

Back to Top