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Sheriff’s race highlights Worth County elections

SYLVESTER, Ga. — Worth County voters will be looking a several contested races in Tuesday’s primaries, with the ballot highlighted by five candidates vying to replace outgoing Sheriff Freddie Tompkins.

Tompkins, who has served as sheriff since 1984, is not running for re-election.

Three Democrats — J.D. Daniel, Lenny Davis and Gene Jones — and two Republicans — Ronnie Graddy and Jeff Hobby — are in the running for the office. The Democratic and Republican winners will face off against each other Nov. 6.

“All my experience in law enforcement qualifies me to be the next sheriff of Worth County,” said Daniel, who has been a sheriff’s deputy for the past 19 years. “I know the county and I know the people. I’ve been in law enforcement for almost 31 years and I have experience in all areas of law enforcement.”

Davis, who was raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., said the Marine Corps brought him to south Georgia, and he’s been here for about 20 years. His experience includes service with the Worth County Sheriff’s Department since 1995 and with the Georgia Army National Guard. Davis said he also has worked with the Worth Fire and Rescue Departments and has “done everything a responding officer faces.”

Jones, a Worth native, said he started in law enforcement in 1990 working under Chief Tommy Bozeman with the Sylvester Police Department. Jones also worked as the chief of police in Poulan for about five years and was a deputy for the Sheriff’s Office for the past six years before taking a leave of absence to run for the sheriff’s post. “It’s always been my long-term goal,” Jones said. “I have a good heart for people in general ... and this is the best way I can make a difference.”

Graddy started his law enforcement career with the Albany Police Department, but has spent 15 years working with the Worth Sheriff’s Office. He also worked with the Sylvester P.D. He said he expects to continue the work of Tompkins, but may make some gradual changes if elected. Graddy said the desire to make the county safe and prosperous motivated him to seek the office. “I’ve got about 30 family members living here, about half of them still in the school system, so I want it to be safe for them and all kids,” he said.

Hobby, who has worked about 15 years as a trooper with the Georgia State Patrol, said he grew up in Worth County in the Doles area. Hobby said his work with the GSP has exposed him to changes in sheriff departments throughout the area, and he hopes to incorporate some of those tactics in Worth County. “With the economy like it is and crime increasing, we need someone who can be proactive,” Hobby said. He added that he is the father of two boys and wants to make the county safe for all children.

The other crowded race features a four-person field for County Commission chairman, a position elected at-large in the county.

Incumbent Chairman Matt Medders is facing a challenge from Donald Hufstetler in the Democratic primary, while the Republican race has Mike Cosby and and former county commissioner Fred Dent facing off.

In other county races, three are seeking the retiring Sheryl Hall’s job as Probate Court judge. Democrat Fidila Hall, who is running unopposed, will face Tuesday’s Republican primary winner — Virginia Accord or Ann Goldinger — in November’s general election.

In the Coroner’s race, incumbent Johnny Johnson will square off with challenger Ken Willis in the Republican primary.

In the County Commission District 1 race, incumbent Tony Hall is being challenged by Joe Gaines in the Democratic primary.

The county Board of Education District 3 race has two Republicans — Billy Oliver and Bill Reynolds — vying for the right to attempt to unseat Democratic incumbent Mike Roberts in the November general election.

Several Worth incumbents are running unopposed.

  • Brenda Hicks, clerk of Superior Court;

  • Tony Strenth, chief magistrate;

  • Bryce Johnson, solicitor-general;

  • Jerry Jones, School Board District 2;

  • Clarence Miller, State Court judge.

The Democratic and Primary elections are scheduled for Tuesday with the general election set for Nov. 6.

Comments

Trustbuster 2 years, 3 months ago

Daniels' statement could be made by any of the candidates running for sheriff. He is being backed by Sheriff Tompkins political machine. The current sheriff is his brother-in-law. They are trying to keep it all in the family. Well known for Worth Co. politics. I voted for Graddy because he is honest Christian family man and can better work with young people in my county. We need someone who is independent, open-minded, flexible and frugal with the taxpayer's money. Graddy is the best qualified candidate over the others.

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Lotto 2 years, 3 months ago

If there needs to be changes in the county the current sheriff and his ways needs to be completely out of the sheriff's office. Graddy says, "he expects to continue the work of Tompkins" and Trustbusters says, "Daniels is being backed by Sheriff Tompkins political machine" then what is the difference between Daniels and Graddy? If you really want to make a change in Worth County and the Sheriff's Office the only candidate that is qualified and hasn't been assoiciated with the Sheriff's Office is Jeff Hobby. That's where my vote went because I'm ready for this county to be as advanced and as safe as the surrounding counties.

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Trustbuster 2 years, 3 months ago

Lotto, They want Hobby off the road. What Ronnie means is that he wants to continue the professionalism of the law enforcement community in Worth Co. Most of Tompkins people are supporting JD. Does Hobby have good speaking skills?

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Lotto 2 years, 3 months ago

Trustbuster, not trying to be rude but who is this famous "they"? I always hear "they this" and "they that" but I have never met they. From my observation of Worth County Sheriff's office there is no professionalism. I understand that most of Tompkins people are supporting JD but that is because they are family. As far as speaking skills, Freddie Tompkins has never had any good public speaking skills. It takes more than speaking skills to be a good Sheriff. You can sincerely see that the speaking skills comes from Jeff's heart and is not trying to impress people. He will be a Sheriff for the whole county the fortunate and less fortunate. All I have ever seen Graddy do is talk to the "important" citizens of Worth County, this I know for a fact because he has never spoken to me even when he walks by me. He has walked by me several times during this campaign.

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years, 3 months ago

Really--I have no idea if Graddy is the best candidate since he never came to Worthy Manor...never met him and don't know what kind of person he is. Graddy apparently doesn't think all of the county is important. I voted for Lenny Davis--at least he thinks ALL of Worthy County is relevant and he cared enough to go to the areas that everyone else ignored....

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tocar 2 years, 3 months ago

I will vote for Ronnie Graddy. I have know him since he was young and he is a hard working, devoted individual who would be the best candidate for Sheriff. He has continued to work full time while campaigning after hours and weekends that he was not working. Mr. Graddy is committed to serving all residents of Sylvester and Worth County in combating all crimes and making it a better place for you and I.

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years, 3 months ago

If this is true, then why didn't he or some of his representatives come to Worthy Manor? I have a hard time believing this since I have not yet met the man....hope he doesn't get elected! If we are not worth a campaign visit, what will happen to us if he is elected? I guess we will take a back seat to the more affluent parts of the county like we did during the campain...As I said, if you want a candidate that truly cares about THE WHOLE COUNTY vote for Lenny Davis,,,

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Trustbuster 2 years, 3 months ago

It is impossible for a candidate to completely cover Worth Co. Our county is very large geographically. I would never consider voting for or against a candidate based on whether or not he/she visited my neighborhood. If you feel that way then ask Obama or Romney to visit Worthy Manor. I doubt these insiders even know where Worth Co. is. For the record Davis has never visited my street!

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