The most recent results only confirmed the public’s approval of the pair. Neither member of the duo has had difficulty keeping their jobs.
Eric Watson faced opposition in name only in the 22nd District and, as it turned out, challenger Jack Epperson, who mounted an aggressive campaign in the 24th District, did not fare any better against 24th State Rep. Kevin Brooks, whom Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland has dubbed, “Mr. Perfect.”
Watson collected 5,675 votes to easily dispatch the almost invisible David Kimbro who garnered 856 votes in the three-county district. Watson will have another challenger in Democrat Jonathan Gladden, of Ocoee, in the Nov. 6 General Election. The lone Democrat captured 1,530 ballots district wide.
With 86.9 percent of the total votes cast by Republicans, Watson received the nod from 4,098 in Bradley County, 149 in Meigs and 1,428 in Polk County. Kimbro received 636, 25 and 195 in Bradley, Meigs and Polk counties respectively.
Watson thanked voters and reminded them the 22nd District ranks as one of the best districts in the state to operate a business and grow jobs. “We’ve led the way by welcoming new manufacturing and supply businesses to set up shop here and we have been at the forefront to keep taxes low and harmful regulations away,” he said.
“As we move forward together, we must continue our fight to ensure government stays within its constitutional boundaries. We must continue to find government waste to cut and we must continue being vigilant to ensure our state’s unique heritage is respected. I am confident we will be successful in this endeavor due to your unwavering commitments to faith, family, and freedom.”
Brooks thanked his family and “extended family” of supporters and voters for their continued support since he first ran in 2006.
“I am thankful we have this primary race behind us so we can focus on the future. We’ve got a lot to work on,” he said. “We’ve got to invest in our education. This is our future workforce. The Volkwagens, Wackers, Amazons and Whirlpools are looking at this next generation we are graduating, that are commencing into our workforce. We’ve got to look at it (education). Neither race was ever close with Brooks winning 3,458 (80.1 percent) to Epperson’s 848 (19.67 percent) of the early votes. The percentage of ballots cast in Brooks’ favor never changed throughout the evening. Brooks won by a count of 5,737 to 1,424. Watson won 84.93 percent (2,102) of the early votes to Kimbro’s 14.91 percent (369) of the votes.
Epperson said he enjoyed his first political race and knew when he entered it would be difficult to unseat Brooks.
“We’re going to back Kevin now. He’s going to be our representative,” he said. “It won’t be my last time in politics. You’ll see my name on another ballot in Bradley County pretty soon.”
Watson was a political novice in 2005 when he entered his first race in November 2005. He gained much election experience by winning four elections within a year before he finally earned the 22nd District seat for a full term in November 2006. His string of election victories included the Republican Primary in November 2005 in which he defeated Dan Howell, Elizabeth Kalabus, Alexander Mosely and Fred Wilcoxon. He then won the Jan. 6, 2006 special election over Democrat Sally Love. The Polk County Commission appointed Love to the seat on Sept. 15, 2005, on an interim basis to fill a midterm vacancy left by the resignation of former state Rep. Chris Newton.
Watson was unopposed in the August 2006 Republican Primary. He easily beat Democrat Casey Stokes by a near 3-to-1 margin in November 2006 to win his first full term in office. He was unopposed in the 2008 and 2010 elections.
Brooks won the August 2006 Republican Primary to earn the right to represent the city of Cleveland in the General Assembly. Brooks came out on top in his first race that included Garry Moore, Hal Roe, Michael Willis and Greg Cain.
Brooks replaced Dewayne Bunch, who jumped from the House to the state Senate after former state Sen. Jeff Miller opted not to run.
Cain returned in 2008 as an Independent, but presented only token resistance. Brooks was unopposed in the 2010 election cycle.