Hearing to decide if Peach County coroner candidate will appear on ballot

chwright@macon.comOctober 10, 2012 

A public hearing has been set for next week to decide whether a candidate for Peach County coroner can appear on the November ballot, according to Elections Supervisor Michelle Riley.

Riley said the Board of Elections will hold a meeting at 4 p.m. Monday to determine the merits of a complaint alleging Otis Daniel Jr. lied on his qualification application. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at the Peach County Courthouse in the Superior Court courtroom.

The complaint alleges Daniel did not disclose that he had been convicted of a felony on his qualification application, according to a document from Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office.

Jared Thomas, a spokesman for Kemp’s office, stated in an e-mail that he cannot predict how long a state investigation into the complaint would take because every case is different.

“The local board of elections would have the final say, but any decision of the board may be appealed to Superior Court,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas said he can’t comment specifically about the complaint against Daniel and declined to answer general questions related to qualifying rules regarding felonies.

Daniel did not return phone messages for comment Wednesday.

Joe Wilder, Peach County clerk of Superior Court, said records show Daniel served two years of probation for a 1972 burglary.

Television station 13WMAZ reported that Daniel said he was pardoned in 1988.

Steve Hayes, director of public affairs for the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole, said he could not provide information related to Daniel late Wednesday. He said his staff would research the matter Thursday.

Daniel, a former Fort Valley fire chief, is running against incumbent Kelly Rooks, owner of Rooks Funeral home.

Rooks said he has known Daniel for years but declined to comment on the complaint against his opponent.

“That’s between him and the county and the elections committee,” Rooks said.

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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