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2024 General Primary Election - May 21, 2024

Gordon County Sheriff Candidates
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The Republican candidates for Gordon County Sheriff  for the General Primary Election on May 21, 2024, include, from left: Chris Brown, Rodney Curtis and Sheriff Mitch Ralston (Incumbent).

Candidate Chris Brown (Republican) biography

"I have 21 years of experience in law enforcement. I spent my entire career committed to the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office serving the citizens of Gordon County and having held nearly every position. I began my career as a jailer then served in court services, the fugitive task force, and the patrol division where I achieved the rank of Lieutenant. I was a member of the traffic enforcement unit, the SWAT team, and the Drug Task Force. I have completed over 2000 hours of specialized training and have countless hours of invaluable experience addressing a wide range of situations within our community.

Why are you running for office?

"I strongly believe that it is time for a new direction in our Sheriff’s Office. Having served under three different administrations, I have gained valuable insights into the needs of the office and the community. I believe that it is time for a fresh vision and perspective for the growing needs of our community and I can deliver that."

What changes do you feel need to be made in the operation of the Sheriff’s Office?

"I am dedicated to being highly accessible and available to the citizens of our county. I will be engaged with the community and actively listening to concerns and addressing issues. I recognize the importance of fostering trust, communication and collaboration with community members. One of our strongest partners in law enforcement is our citizens. 

"I will work to build relationships with other agencies within the county. I believe that relationships with EMS, fire, EMA, city police departments, the court system and all public officials will make us stronger together. I will build these relationships based on mutual respect, transparency, and shared communication.

"I will continually look for better ways to utilize the budget and a more efficient allocation of resources. I will ensure that we are making the best use of taxpayers’ money to enhance public safety while supporting the needs of our officers and their safety. I want to serve our community efficiently and responsibly."

What do you hope to implement if elected for office both short term and long term?

"I am committed to expanding and enhancing our current school resource officer program to better support the safety and well-being of our students and educators. By increasing the presence of trained and dedicated resource officers in the schools, we can strengthen relationships and proactively address safety concerns.

"We will focus efforts on a more robust, proactive drug enforcement unit. We will work diligently every day to combat the drug problem in our community. By continually combating the use, sale and distribution of Fentanyl, Heroin and methamphetamine we can effectively reduce theft, family violence, homicides and many other areas of crime in the long term.

"I will increase training so that deputies are equipped with the most up-to-date resources that are available.

"My short term and long-term goals are simple. I will ensure that everyone in Gordon County feels recognized, safe, and protected, and that we will responsibly utilize the resources we have been entrusted with to make that happen."

Candidate Rodney Curtis (Republican) biography

"My name is Rodney Curtis. First, I am a Christian man. Second, a fiancé to Julie Russell. Third, a father to two Children; Landon and Carly Curtis. I was born and raised in Gordon County. My parents are Lamar and Mary Curtis. I have two brothers-Ron and Derrick Curtis, and we have a sweet, energetic dog named Max.


"I bring over two decades of extensive law enforcement experience to this candidacy for sheriff. Beginning my career in 2002 at the Gordon County Sheriff's Office, I served in various capacities, including Jailer, Sheriff's Deputy, and Detective with the Drug Task Force Unit.


"Transitioning to the Georgia State Patrol in 2008, I continued to excel, holding positions such as Trooper, Field Training Officer, and Instructor at the Georgia Department of Public Safety Training. I also served on the SCRT (Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team) and achieved the rank of Corporal at Post 5. I also have experience in specialized security control through the Georgia State Patrol where my training allowed me to secure high ranking figures that visited our State such as but not limited to; Condelsa Rice, Bill Clinton, John Calapari, Beyonce, etc,.


"In 2021, I expanded his expertise by joining the Beasley Allen Law Firm as an Investigator while concurrently serving part-time with the Cohutta Police Department. My roles as Training Coordinator, Patrol Corporal, and Captain underscore my commitment to both law enforcement and community safety.


"My dedication to professional development is evident in my specialized training, covering a wide array of areas such as Interviews and Interrogations, Accident Reconstruction, Crisis Intervention, and Firearms Instruction.


"Throughout my career, I has garnered numerous accolades, including the Valor Award, Gordon County Elks Officer of the Year, and recognition as an Expert Witness. My exemplary service and unwavering commitment to justice make him a formidable candidate for the position of sheriff."

Why are you running for office?

1. I deeply love and cherish this community, having lived here my entire life.

2. I feel a calling from the Higher Power and support from community leaders to serve in this capacity.

3. My diverse experience in law enforcement uniquely qualifies me for the role, as I have firsthand knowledge of the jobs I will be supervising.

4. I have been approached by numerous community members and professionals affected by the sheriff's office, who recognize the necessity for change and believe in my ability to bring about positive reforms.

What changes do you feel need to be made in the operation of the Sheriff’s Office?

I see several areas in the sheriff's office that require attention and improvement, including:

a. Retention rates of our deputies

b. Jail Operations

c. Investigations

d. Response times

e. Programs that can benefit the community
i. Reform
      ii. Rehabilitation
      iii. Mental health initiatives

f. Transparency

g. Accessibility

h. Cooperation with other law enforcement agencies and court systems

i. Public Service in general

j. Proper allocations of budget funds

k. Wasteful spending

l. More specialized and advanced training

m. Fair application of the law to everyone

n. Community involvement

What do you hope to implement if elected for office both short term and long term?

To reference the previous question, my plans of implementation include:

1. **Retention rates**: Ensuring the retention of experienced and qualified personnel to maintain continuity and effectiveness.

2. **Jail Operations**: Enhancing efficiency, safety, and inmate rehabilitation within the correctional facility.

3. **Investigations**: Improving investigative processes and resources to enhance case resolution and community safety.

4. **Response times**: Streamlining emergency response protocols to reduce response times and enhance public safety.

5. **Community Programs**: Implementing and expanding programs that benefit the community, such as youth outreach and crime prevention initiatives.

6. **Reform and Rehabilitation**: Implementing reforms to promote fairness, accountability, and rehabilitation within the criminal justice system.

7. **Mental Health Initiatives**: Developing specialized programs and services to address mental health needs within the community and inmate population.

8. **Transparency and Accessibility**: Promoting transparency in operations and ensuring accessibility to information for the public.

9. **Cooperation with other Agencies**: Fostering collaboration with other law enforcement agencies and court systems to enhance effectiveness and efficiency.

10. **Public Service**: Prioritizing public service and community engagement to build trust and foster positive relationships.

11. **Budget Allocations**: Ensuring proper allocation of budget funds to address critical needs and avoid wasteful spending.

12. **Training**: Providing specialized and advanced training for deputies to enhance skills and adapt to evolving challenges.

13. **Fair Application of Law**: Ensuring the fair and impartial application of the law to all individuals regardless of background or status.


By addressing these areas, we can work towards building a more effective, transparent, and responsive sheriff's office that better serves and protects our community. The long term effects of the programs and policies I would initiate would make Gordon County a better, safer place for everyone.

Candidate Sheriff Mitch Ralston (Incumbent, Republican) biography

"I assumed Office in 2009 and am now in my fourth term. I am the first Republican sheriff in Gordon County’s history. My law enforcement and public safety career spans over 30 years, serving as a Calhoun firefighter, Calhoun police officer, followed by 18 years in the Georgia State Patrol before being elected Sheriff. In my time in the State Patrol, I was a charter member of the Nighthawks Task Force in Metro Atlanta. I have been awarded numerous official commendations for enforcement and administrative achievements including recognition by Governor Sonny Purdue, as well as the State Legislature. I have been appointed to several state government committees, including the Legislative Timber Theft Task Force, the Asset Forfeiture Study Group, and the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Law Enforcement Task Force. I currently serve as an active member of the Georgia P.O.S.T. Council, and am on the Regional Police Academy Advisory Board. I am married to my high school sweetheart."

Why are you running for office?

“I am running for reelection to continue the great work my staff and I have accomplished since 2009. We have operated under budget each fiscal year since I first took office. I negotiated a mutually beneficial agreement with the County  Board of Education, endorsed by the Superintendent of County Schools which puts a deputy in every county school every day. I initiated the C.H.A.M.P.S. Program in all of the County elementary schools wherein 5th graders are instructed by an instructor-deputy sheriff in many aspects of personal safety and growth, including substance abuse. I operate the Sheriff’s Office firmly on the basis of community policing, wherein I have made the Sheriff’s Office part of our community.

What changes do you feel need to be made in the operation of the Sheriff’s Office?

“The greatest changes I’ve seen in my over 3 decades of law enforcement experience is ever evolving technology. We were the first agency in our judicial circuit to implement a ‘paperless’ report process which aid in records keeping and prosecution. We will remain on the cutting edge of new technologies and procedures to continue delivering the best services to our community.


What do you hope to implement if elected for office both short term and long term?

“Just this school year we implemented the C.H.A.M.P.S. program in the elementary schools, and we’re very excited about it. We’re especially  committed to our youth, and C.H.A.M.P.S. is a big part of the Sheriff’s Office School Resource program. We will be building upon and expanding on the C.H.A.M.P.S. program next year. You can’t go wrong in being involved with the children in our community.”

Gordon County Coroner Candidates
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The Republican candidates for Gordon County Coroner for the General Primary Election on May 21, 2024, include, from left: Nick Blalock and Ryan Holden.

Candidate Nick Blalock (Republican) biography

"My name is Nick Blalock and I was born and raised in Calhoun.  I am married to Amie Blalock and we have two daughters, Ryleigh and Maddie. I am a licensed funeral director and embalmer and work at Max Brannon and Sons Funeral Home. I am currently a deacon at Calhoun First Baptist Church, and enjoy cooking and reading."

Why are you running for office?

"I am running for office so that I can use the knowledge and skills that I employ on a daily basis to serve the citizens of Gordon County during a very difficult time in their lives."

What changes do you feel need to be made in the operation of the Coroner’s Office?

"The only change I hope to make is in regards to our current morgue.  Plans have been in the works to replace our morgue, and I hope I can help usher in its replacement." 

What do you hope to implement if elected for office both short term and long term?

" I hope to continue the great work of our Coroner's office, and work with the current deputies as they prepare for the continued growth of Gordon County and the challenges that come with it."

Candidate Ryan Holden (Republican) biography

"My name is Ryan Holden, I am a proud citizen of Gordon County and excited to potentially serve my community as Gordon County Coroner. I am a 1981 graduate of Red Bud High School and was a local business owner for almost 25 years. In my life I have many important roles: a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend. I am a Christian and am a long time member of Calhoun First Baptist Church. Professionally, I have been with a hospital based EMS service for 15 years and currently I work as a Paramedic and lead as the B-shift Captain"

Why are you running for office?

"I am running for office because I feel that I can be a benefit to my community’s needs based on my professional and personal experiences. With 15 years in the Emergency Medical Profession, I have training and understanding of the body and handling death with respect. Additionally, through my work in the healthcare industry I have worked closely with the coroner’s office, city police department, the county police department, and the sheriff’s office. I intend to draw from my personal and professional background to find success as Gordon County Coroner. When Mr. Carver, the former Gordon County Coroner, was alive I spoke with him extensively about the job and the pressures it can hold. I understand the need to meet families with compassion and empathy while still being able to properly carry out the requirements of the coroner's job. I intend to professionally handle duties and responsibilities while being a point of clarity and comfort for families."

What changes do you feel need to be made in the operation of the Coroner’s Office?

"I think that the interim coroner, Bo Nicholson, has done a fantastic job since the passing of Mr. Carver. Mr. Nicholson along with his deputy coroners Cristy Nicholson, Jonathnan Pressley, and Heath Derryberry have done a great job meeting the needs of our community in a time of transition. Changes in terms of how things are run are minimal at best, however I do have long and short term goals when elected as Coroner." 

What do you hope to implement if elected for office both short term and long term?

"If elected, I intend to implement a variety of changes to better meet the needs of our community. In the short term, I want to encourage those already in place to stay as deputy coroners. I feel that making sure our deputy corners are upstanding citizens, who will assist me in a smooth transition as coroner, is very important. As previously stated, deputy coroners already in place are doing a great job and I intend for them to continue doing so. Additionally, I will be sure to have equal representation for all funeral homes in our area. My job will be to serve the needs of my community, making sure that the job is done correctly and with respect to all. My long term goals are to successfully carry out the plan of opening a new coroner's office and a modern morgue. Currently our morgue has areas of improvement, once in office I will pinpoint those areas with more context and find ways to implement change as the planning process for the new morgue develops"

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