After political fight, North Georgia candidate requests police protection

After political fight, North Georgia candidate requests police protection

August 13th, 2016 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News

Jeremy Jones, candidate for Georgia's District 3 state representative, speaks Monday, April 4, 2016, at the Colonnade in Ringgold, Ga.

Photo by Angela Lewis Foster /Times Free Press.

There they were, on opposite ends of the sidewalk, two political rivals soaking up the sun and petty insults.

Jeremy Jones, failed state representative candidate, sat in a camping chair. Jeff Holcomb, failed state representative candidate, stood nearby. Weeks later, both men would say they were threatened. Somehow, the police got involved.

Jeff Holcomb

Jeff Holcomb

Photo by Alyson Wright /Times Free Press.

"I'm going to beat your bald a**," Holcomb may have said, according to a Catoosa County Sheriff's incident report.

Or, as Jones recalled this week, Holcomb may have actually said, "If you don't shut your mouth, I'll shut it for you."

Either way, Jones responded with a long text message. He mentioned something about how insulting him "might prove to be unhealthy." Holcomb took that as a threat.

Jones later called the sheriff's office. He didn't want charges pressed, just a patrol officer to come by the house a couple extra times that July night.

What led to this tit for tat between two of Catoosa County's Republican politicians? On May 24, they ran with Dewayne Hill in a GOP Primary for a state house seat. None of them received more than half the votes, as is required to join the Georgia legislature.

A primary between the two most popular candidates, Holcomb and Hill, ensued.

Jones, who received 13 percent of the vote in May, endorsed Hill. He insulted Holcomb online, called him a hot head and a racist unfit to work in the Georgia capitol. Holcomb said Jones was merely kowtowing to the political establishment by aligning with Hill, who had received about $30,000 in funding from current state representatives and senators.

Then, July 26 came. Election day. Jones stumped for Hill outside the Boynton precinct, located halfway between Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold. It also happened to be Holcomb's precinct.

Holcomb walked in to cast his ballot. Jones walked out, having just relieved himself in the bathroom. As the men passed, Holcomb said, Jones tried to say something. Holcomb told him to shut up.

Then, outside, the men met again. They give different accounts.

Holcomb said Jones yelled at him through a loudspeaker, insulting him, trying to get under his skin. He doesn't remember the specific insults.

"He's just a sad person," Holcomb said. "A sad person that's trying to get insults."

Jones said he never yelled at Holcomb. He said Holcomb was trying to resurrect a fallen campaign sign when Jones offered to help. Holcomb told him to stay away. Jones asked if he was sure, and Holcomb yelled.

Jones remembers Holcomb saying he was going to beat Jones' bald behind or shut his mouth for him — something like that. He also remembers Holcomb calling him a "bald piece of s***."

Jones said he didn't take the insults personally. He just thought they were dumb.

"I was somewhat stunned," Jones said. "We have matching hairlines."

A better insult would have centered on his last-place finish in the May primary, Jones said, or maybe about how he is "a little robust."

Either way, Holcomb left. Jones sent a text.

"Good Lord, do you really think insulting my lack of hair is any way to progress!?" he wrote. "Are you that shallow that you cannot handle opposition?"

"Let me tell you," he continued, "you allowing this to build up is not healthy for you! Also, calling me names may prove to be unhealthy as well!"

"If you come back, I'll even let you have some of my ice water to keep your throat in tip-top shape as you hurl insults."

Holcomb did not come back.

"That sounds like he's threatening me!" he said after reading the message. "Sticks and stones may break my bones."

Jones posted something about his version of the confrontation on his Facebook page. Word spread. A sheriff's deputy visited him, he said. The deputy told him to make a report. Jones declined.

Then, the results came in. Holcomb was defeated by 16 percent.

Jones continued to think about what happened. He called the sheriff's office, said he didn't want to press charges but would appreciate an officer patrolling his street in Ringgold, just in case.

"I've got a wife and kid at home," he said. "I don't know what crazy people do after losing the election, especially if they're going to blame it on me. And I firmly believe he is crazy."

Holcomb said he's not crazy, and he never threatened Jones. He said Jones called the sheriff's office that night to make a report and create an anti-Holcomb paper trail. He suspected Jones was still acting on behalf of Hill and State Sen. Jeff Mullis, who donated to Hill and helped him find a campaign manager. Mullis did not return a call seeking comment.

"This is all a ploy he's put up to by the political group," Holcomb said. "Their whole job is to try to cause me political harm so I won't run against (Hill) and beat him."

Contact Staff Writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.


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