Phillips and Griggs win Republican Primary for Board of Commissioner

Election, News

CHEROKEE COUNTY, N.C. – Cherokee’s Republican primary resulted in two clear winners in the Tuesday, March 3 election.

In the Board of Commissioners District II race, Randy Phillips earned 57.96 percent of the vote while his opponent, C.B. McKinnon (i) received 42.04 percent.

Randy Phillips, image courtesy of his Facebook page.

As for the Board of Commissioners District V race, Jan Griggs earned 54.32 percent and Steve “Coldcash” Coleman received 45.68 percent.

Griggs will face Democrat Victoria Bauman in the general election.

The U.S. House of Representatives District 11 race for Rep. Mark Meadows seat had 12 Republicans and five Democrats on their respective primary ballots. With 99.48 percent reporting, candidate Lynda Bennett is leading with 22.72 percent of the votes cast. The next top vote-getter is Madison Cawthorn with 20.24 percent. The leading Democrat candidate is Moe Davis with 47.35 percent.

Jan Griggs, image courtesy of her campaign Facebook.

If none of the candidates reach 30 percent, the top two candidates will enter a run-off for the seat.

Cherokee County voiced support for a different District 11 candidate. Republican Jim Davis leads with 36.71 percent. On the Democrat side, Moe Davis is the current top vote-getter with 34.48 percent.

For the U.S. Senate, voters have overwhelmingly selected Republican Thom Tillis (i) at 78.10 percent and Democrat Cal Cunningham at 57.00 percent to face each other in the general election.

In the governor’s race, Republicans chose Dan Forest at 88.97 percent while Democrats picked Roy Cooper (i) with 87.22 percent of the vote.

The Lieutenant governor race on the Democrat side could be headed for a run-off with candidates Yvonne Holley and Terry Van Duyn, neither reached 30 percent. However, the Republican Mark Robinson has 32.55 percent of his primary.

As for the Presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden won North Carolina with 42.99 percent of the vote.

Presumptive winners for following races:

Attorney General: Jim O’Neill (R) – 46.53 percent

Auditor: Beth A. Wood (D) – 77.72 percent

Anthony Wayne “Tony” Street (R) – 56.13 percent

Commissioner of Agriculture: Jenna Wadsworth (D) – 54.00percent

Commissioner of Insurance: Mike Causey (R) – 64.60 percent

Commissioner of Labor: Josh Dobson (R) – 40.32 percent

Secretary of State: E.C. Sykes (R) – 42.90 percent

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Jen Mangrum (D) – 33.16 percent

Catherine Truitt (R) – 56.67 percent

Treasurer: Ronnie Chatterji (D) – 35.80 percent

All primary election results are unofficial until certified by N.C. State Board of Elections.

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Ads in Fannin Focus do not show up correctly in Sheriff Candidates Campaign Financial Reports

Featured, Featured Stories, News

Mark Thomason, the publisher of the Fannin Focus has been in the news a lot lately. This is an unrelated story to Thomason’s arrest, “Journalist Jailed”. It does, however go with the big picture of Thomason’s publication the Fannin Focus, “Intent on Integrity”. Read the story and you decide.

FYN has a copy of every Fannin Focus issue since primary election qualifying. We have reviewed each page for all campaign advertising. We also have a copy of the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet. We have cross referenced the ads with the rate sheet. We have all the documents to support this article. FYN files the following report on three Fannin County Sheriff Republican Party Candidates, Johnny Scearce, Jack Taylor and Larry Bennett.

Fannin Sheriff Candidates Political Ad Reporting in Fannin Focus

#FanninCartel Defined

“A coalition or cooperative arrangement between political parties intended to promote a mutual interest”. Did this happen in the Fannin County Sheriff’s race?

Larry Bennett, Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/31, 4/7, 4/14 and 4/28. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, the number of ads and the size of the ads Bennett placed should have totalled $1,142.78 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Bennett’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $0 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. Bennett is the former police chief of McCaysville GA.

Jack Taylor Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/3, 3/10, 3/17, 3/24, 3/31, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12 and 5/19. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, number of ads and size of the ads Taylor should have totaled $7,970.63 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Taylor’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $600 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. This left $7,370.63 of unreported spending with the Fannin Focus. Remember all those full page ads Taylor ran in the paper?

Remember the marquee at the Swan Drive-In, “Vote Jack Taylor for Sheriff”? What did Taylor pay Steve Setser, the owner of the Drive-In, for the advertising? Taylor listed Setser on his Campaign Contribution Disclosure, but in the space where a candidate has to give the amount of the contribution, Taylor wrote “Setser“ but would not give a price or “no charge” (You can legally donate goods or services to a candidate {In-Kind} but the candidate must describe the donation and place a value on their campaign disclosure). In-Kind contribution values must comply with campaign finance laws. Setser is required to place a value on his contribution. Steve Setser also donated $463 for T-Shirts and $300 for flyers to the Taylor campaign.

Jack Taylor Swan

Now, that brings us to Johnny Scearce. Scearce is currently the Blue Ridge City Police Chief. Scearce has run for Fannin County Sheriff several times and is used to filling out a “Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report”. One would assume that Scearce would understand he has to list everyone who contributes to his campaign and show all outlets where he has spent money.  According to Scearce’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report filed on 6/30, he showed $0 left in his campaign account.

Johnny Scearce Republican Candidate for Sheriff placed ads in issues of the Fannin Focus on 3/17, 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5, 5/12 and 5/19. According to the Fannin Focus advertising rate sheet, the number of ads and size of ads Scearce placed should have cost $4,946.89 in advertising with the Fannin Focus. According to Scearce’s Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report he spent $0 in advertising with the Fannin Focus.

johnny brenda 3johnny full page 3

Scearce hired  Kendell Goss as Campaign Marketing Manager. Scearce paid Goss $3,369.00 and listed it as advertising. Sources tell FYN, Goss handled the campaign website, prepared speeches, and campaign video along with other marketing materials.

Let’s just suppose Goss used some of the money to place ads in the Fannin Focus…it still would have to be disclosed! Scearce disclosed that he spent money directly three times with The News Observer and once with WPPI – FM so why wouldn’t he disclose any money paid to the Fannin Focus or place the ad directly himself?

There is no disclosure on who paid for the ads. We could not find one Johnny Scearce or Larry Bennett ad in the Fannin Focus that discloses “Paid for By.” One could understand if the publisher missed one ad but it seems he missed them all! Why not show who is paying for the campaign ads, it’s a campaign finance rule?

Sheriff Dane Kirby spent $0 with the Fannin Focus and placed no ads in its paper.

The publisher of the Fannin Focus is Mark Thomason. If Thomason decided to give the advertising to the candidates for free, the Fannin Focus would still have to be listed on the candidates campaign finance reports with an “In-Kind” amount. If an “In-Kind” was the desired result to benefit the above listed candidates by Thomason, the amounts have far exceeded the campaign contribution limits.

Some questions…Did Mark Thomason extend $13,460.30 of free advertising to three Fannin County Sheriff candidates? Why just the Sheriff candidates? Could they have been in cahoots (colluding or conspiring together secretly)? Wonder how the other candidates who paid for their ads must feel? Wonder what the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission will think?

Click to read campaign finance reports.

Johnny Scearce 6302016

Jack Taylor 6302016

Larry Bennett 6302016


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Related story: Fannin Focus Mark Thomason Arrested, Journalist or Vendetta




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