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Election guide 2020: Experienced candidates face off for coroner
Forsyth County

With Forsyth County Coroner Lauren McDonald running for state House District 26 seat, voters will select his replacement in the June 9 primary and both candidates have experience with the office.

Candidates Ted Paxton, formerly sheriff of Forsyth County, and Paul Holbrook, who has served as chief deputy coroner under McDonald, have both qualified for the seat.

The seat is non-partisan and will be decided in the primary.

Ted Paxton

Ted Paxton

Age: 67

Occupation: Retired since 2013. My working career was law enforcement for 40 years. From 2001 through 2012 I served as the elected Sheriff of Forsyth County.

Political or civic involvement: Paxton is a member of the Republican Party of Forsyth County and the Georgia Sheriff's Association (retired status) and attends Harmony Grove Baptist Church.

Contact Information:

Identify 2-3 causes in your platform

“I am running for Coroner due to my strong commitment to public service. My family has roots in Forsyth County dating back to 1832. My grandparents were actively involved in the community effort to build what is now Chestatee Elementary School in 1932. 

“The office of coroner is a vital component of county government. It is an office the voters should not take lightly. Our community has grown tremendously over the past 30 years. The office should not be considered with or associated with the funeral home business. It must be an independent and autonomous office. There should not be even the hint of a conflict of interest with the office of coroner. 

“I am not employed by or associated with the funeral home industry. I ask the voters to consider this issue when casting their vote for coroner.”

How do you think your professional experience will help you as coroner?

“During my 40 years of law enforcement, I conducted and/or supervised countless numbers of death investigations. My training and experience in this field allows me to be exceptionally qualified for the office of coroner. I hold a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University. I am a graduate of the Southern Police Institute at the University of Louisville, as well as the National Sheriff's Institute. 

“I am extremely familiar with the operation of the various components of county government and responsibilities of the office of coroner.”

Paul Holbrook
Paul Holbrook
Paul Holbrook

Age: 47

Occupation: Chief deputy coroner and a funeral director with McDonald and Son Funeral Home

Political or civic involvement: Member of the Forsyth County Republican Party; volunteer with CASA of Forsyth County 

Contact information:, 770-356-3215

Identify 2-3 causes in your platform

“What the world, the U.S. and even Forsyth County has been going through over the past three months with COVID-19 has educated myself and the Forsyth coroner's office on how to handle a pandemic situation. As chief deputy of the Forsyth County coroner's office, I have worked daily maintaining a readiness program that could be put into action at any time. Our office has worked closely during this time with our local Emergency Management Operations, Forsyth County Fire Department, Cumming Police Department and the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office. Under my leadership as chief deputy, the Forsyth County coroner's office has the equipment and staff to not only respond to any incident in our county but we are always on standby to assist a neighboring county.

“As chief deputy, I have made sure that we maintain a high level of communication with Northside Hospital Forsyth administration.”

How do you think your professional experience will help you as coroner?

“As chief deputy of the Forsyth County coroner's office, I have the experience and work ethic to continue the level of service to Forsyth County citizens. I am a certified medicolegal death investigator and trained at the University of Missouri. 

“Service to our community is something my family has been doing for years. My wife is a sergeant with the Cumming Police Department, and I worked 17 years with the Forsyth County school system. 

“I have always maintained a high level of professionalism in my private work and my public responsibilities as chief deputy of the Forsyth County coroner's office.”