The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2006

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Are you choosy?

by JC Bowman

Choosy Mothers Chose Jiff, but Choosy Fathers Choose Jesus--so are you choosy? I will dispense with the formalities, since it is election time, and I am in the mood to predict the victors. It does not mean I support those I have chosen, it does mean those are the people I think will win based upon countless conversations with voters. I have never seen an election with as many mixed messages and strange alliances as local elections in 2006. It demonstrates the growing independent streak of the informed electorate in Bradley County. So be choosy, but keep in mind we may all want to choose therapy after this election.

Let's get the federal stuff out of the way. Wamp wins. Stulce wins. Ford wins. Corker wins. In the fall we get Wamp versus Stulce and Ford versus Corker. For Governor…Bredesen wins and Bryson wins. This will set up a negative campaign for the fall, and a very nasty Senatorial race.

All the judges will be retained on the judicial retention vote from the State Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Court of Criminal Appeals. Unopposed the Circuit Court Judge - Part 1 Larry Puckett wins, Circuit Court Judge - Part 2 John B. Hagler wins, Circuit Court Judge - Part 3 Carroll L. Ross wins and for Chancellor Jerri Saunders Bryant wins. In what is a test of the Jerry Estes legacy, three of Jerry's kids are challenging for new positions. In the Criminal Court Judge race Judge Amy Armstrong Reedy the current occupant of the judicial seat keeps her position with a victory over Wisconsin transplant Sandra Donaghy. In a very close race for District Attorney General, seasoned legal veteran and former Judge, Steve Bebb will upend young assistant DA Steve Crump. Interestingly Crump has tried to also distance himself from Estes who is awaiting a federal appointment. Richard Hughes will keep his Public Defenders position by beating Chal Thompson. The closest race in the county will be the one for General Sessions Judge Division 1, Ginger Wilson Buchanan versus Daniel Swafford. In fact, at this point I hesitate to call it, as it really depends on who works the hardest between now and Election Day, but the momentum has shifted to Buchanan. At this point the nod is going to Swafford simply because he staked an early lead, and some voters are already remorseful over voting early. However, if Swafford does not step out and make his case more publicly his slim lead evaporates and Buchanan will win. The advertisement featuring two of Swafford's brothers endorsing a state senate candidate in a primary also hurt Swafford. In a battle of genuine classy gentlemen, General Sessions Judge

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



Division 2 features Drew Robinson and Sheridan Randolph, and this will be another extremely close race. Both men will get cross-over vote from the other party. It appears that Robinson may have outworked Randolph in the race, but he has to pull about 20% of the Republican vote. Can he do it? Odds makers in Vegas say yes. Most observers feel either candidate will do an excellent job. The nod then goes to Robinson at this time based upon the informal survey of fellow prognosticators, but Randolph can easily win if Robinson fails to work between now and Election Day. Randolph has never lost an election in Bradley County, so Robinson has his work cut out for him. The last two races are going down to the wire. We are fortunate we have an outstanding judiciary and legal community serving people in Bradley County. No matter what happens we have good people seeking office.

In the 22nd District State House Race, Casey Stokes will be taking on Eric Watson, as both are unopposed. The bloody 24th District is where all the action is this election for the state house. Kevin Brooks, Greg Cain, Garry Moore, Hal Roe, and Michael Willis are doing battle. Brooks wins this race rather easily thanks to aggressive fundraising and a savvy media campaign, despite displaying little knowledge of the issues. Greg Cain, raised quite a bit of cane this election challenging the local party and clearly has the edge on education issues, Garry Moore is working hard among the blue collar workers and brings a law enforcement background to the race. Moore and Hal Roe are the only businessmen in the race. Roe got a late start, but seems to be gaining momentum. Michael Willis has a background in local government. Willis will get the support of party loyalists, but that is no longer enough. All have failed to capitalize on their strength and challenge Brooks on issues. Brooks painted himself as the winner and his opponents simply did little to counter his efforts. The winner is unopposed in the fall, so is assured a seat in Nashville where there is much work to do on behalf of the community. In the state 9th District Senate race Gary Benefield, Dewayne Bunch, and Lindsay L. Hathcock, Jr have clashed, with the majority of the conflict being waged between Bunch and Hathcock. Hathcock takes Bradley County and with a strong showing in other counties, for the seat being vacated by

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..
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