Jeff Miller. Dewayne Bunch and Lindsay Hathcock are both honorable men who are public servants. It seems as if Bunch was reluctant to enter the race and Hathcock simply wants it more, and has reached across the aisle to all citizens in a vigorous campaign. Benefield actually hurts Bunch in this race, especially among veterans.
You can pencil Gary Davis in for another term as County Mayor, and he appears to be getting stronger politically. Tim Gobble will defeat Chris Watson for Sheriff and has a chance to further advance the Sheriff's Office. Let me mention my appreciation for the hard working men and women who wear the uniform of law enforcement. Let's hope we get the politics out of this office in the future. Circuit Court Clerk Gayla Miller, County Clerk Donna Alley Simpson, Register of Deeds Raymond Swafford, County Trustee Mike Smith and Road Superintendent Tom Collins all get four years to ply their trade. Your County Commission will be First District Ben Atchley, Jr. and Ed Elkins, Second District Louie Alford and Connie Wilson. Third District Brian Smith and Lisa Stanbery. Fourth District Jim Smith and Howard Thompson. Fifth District Bill Ledford and Jeff Yarber. Sixth District Mel Griffith and Roy Smith. Incumbent Ralph Creel should have considered running as a Republican in this conservative district, he also loses a few votes to fellow independent Tommy Ledford. In the Seventh District Mark Hall and Michael Plumley win. This could be the first all Republican County Commission, perhaps since Reconstruction.
Donnie Hughes, Dickie Alford, Jesse Hughes, Harold Martin, Ira Cox, Dewayne Hicks, and the great Charlie McKenzie all remain as constables. These are some of the hardest working people in our community. For the school board Mark Grissom, who has said he will vacate the 2nd District position, still defeats an unknown Richard McAlister. In the Third District, Tommy Anderson barely defeats David Kelley, mainly due to the shoe leather campaign of Anderson. In the Fourth District Ben "Bo" Lewis, Jr. loses handily to Bradley County School Board Chairman Troy Weathers. In the Fifth District Education Veteran and all around good guy Crawford Conway is unopposed. In the Sixth District one of the county's rising political stars Christy Griffith Critchfield begins her career as the school board representative for the district. Walter Goode remains on the Charleston City Commission.
In Cleveland, the Mayor will remain Tom Rowland (who and where is Timothy Morris?). Your city council will consist of City Council At-Large member Richard Banks, who defeats political newcomer Scott McGowan. First District Bambi Patterson Hines, who escapes with a narrow win over former councilman Floyd Wade, Jr. Long-time community activist Rod Davis will welcome political novice and Lee University staffer Bill Estes to the 2nd District by handing him a narrow defeat. Davis has simply outworked Estes and wants it more. Davis's opposition seems derived from those who oppose him, rather than those for his opponent. Elections are rarely won in that manner. For the Cleveland City School Board your at-large Bill Brown gets a free ride, as does the third district's Dawn Robinson. In a contested race in the fourth district long-time educator Peggy Pesterfield faces incumbent Jackie Adams Wattenbarger. Wattenbarger wins in a close race over a very worthy opponent. This election may not be decided until Election Day and both ladies deserve recognition for their years of community service for the children of the community. Pesterfield or Wattenbarger should have considered the at-large position, as both have significant community recognition. In the fifth district Tom Cloud defeats Tracy Reece and Debbie Williams. Cloud seems like he has a very good grasp on the issues, and aggressive door knocking campaign and has made his experience the factor.
For the Democrats, the State Executive Committeeman for the 9th District will be Jim Bilbo and the Committeewoman will be Sandra Seals Perkinson. For the Republicans, the State Executive Committeeman 9th District nominee is John Stanbery, with a write in challenge by Cleveland Businessman Perk Evans. The State Executive Committeewoman will be Linda Hampton Higdon.
I hope all the candidates keep their promises and all voters hold them to it. Elections are the exciting fruition of the hard work each candidate has put forth. There are outstanding men and women who have sought office this election cycle. I wish I had time to get to know all of them, and really weigh their interest in serving versus the public good. Like any prognosticator I am sure I missed a few picks. It really does not matter if I am wrong or right, what matters is that we have public servants committed to serving all citizens and pulling the community together. The only loser this election is the citizen who fails to vote. Make your difference this election, VOTE.
--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit his website at: www.policyexperts.net