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Finch's bid for solicitor general successful

POSTED: July 23, 2014 12:55 a.m.
Micah Green/

Bill Finch, wife Leah and daughters Anna Cathryn and Rachel celebrate his victory at a Cumming restaurant Tuesday night.

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CUMMING — Forsyth County will have a new solicitor general come January.

William “Bill” Finch secured 9,611 votes, or about 60 percent, to defeat incumbent Donna Gopaul, who tallied 6,317 votes, or about 40 percent, of the nearly 16,000 ballots cast in the primary runoff election Tuesday.

No Democrats chose to run for the post in the Nov. 4 General Election, so Finch will begin a four-year term in January.

The office prosecutes misdemeanor criminal cases — including driving under the influence, simple drug possession and domestic violence — in the county’s State Court.

At a gathering of family and friends in a Cumming restaurant Tuesday night, Finch said he believed his strategy of running a clean race paid off.

“It took a lot of people to get to this [victory] and they believed in our positive message from the very beginning,” he said.

“I understand these are political campaigns and things get said, but we made a pledge at the very beginning to make it positive. We stuck by that pledge and the people responded to it in overwhelming numbers.”

Gopaul has held the position since March 2013, when she was appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal. She succeeded former solicitor Leslie Abernathy Maddox, who became a State Court judge in the Bell-Forsyth Judicial Circuit.

While disappointed in the outcome Tuesday, Gopaul said in a statement that she was pleased with her time in office.

“I am proud of the legacy I have created in the office of solicitor general,” she said. “I want to challenge the solicitor-elect to continue fighting for taxpayers by reducing government waste while also protecting and serving our community.”

Gopaul also wished Finch well and said she would “look forward to new opportunities in public service.”

Gopaul and Finch emerged with the most votes in the May 20 primary, which also included third candidate Susan Zereini.

Finch said he’s looking forward to working with the employees of the solicitor’s office.

“There are some good folks over there … and I want to join them and continue to do the good work that this county expects and deserves,” Finch said.

He added that he hopes to return the investment voters made in him.

“At the beginning of this campaign, I told the folks that I was invested in Forsyth County and I would be asking them to invest in me,” he said. “They’ve invested in me quite strongly and now is the time for us to go to work and repay that.”


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