Watson faces Brinkman as write-in opponent in state House race

Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 11, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.

For all intents and purposes, former Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson won election to the Florida House of Representatives from District 20 when he defeated fellow Democrat Marihelen Wheeler in the August primary.



Clovis Watson
Party: Democrat
Age: 53
Profession: Retired Alachua police officer and retired Alachua city manager
Political experience: None
Family: Five sons
Residence: Alachua

Robert Brinkman
Party: write-in candidate
Profession: Carpenter
Residence: Gainesville
Email address: robertwbrinkman@gmail.com
Phone number: 318-4934

But Gainesville’s Robert Brinkman, a write-in candidate, has been attending campaign forums and said he expects to collect some votes.

“I am not going to accept any donations or expend any funds. Frankly I am well aware … that a write-in candidate has never won an election in the state of Florida,” Brinkman said. “I’ll be totally frank with you — I really enjoyed speaking (at a forum) knowing I wasn’t taking money from people and spending it. That puts a certain pressure on candidates and tends to inhibit candidates.”

Brinkman, a carpenter, ran for the Gainesville City Commission in 2003 and 2005 and for the Soil and Water Conservation District in 2008.

His main goal of the campaign, Brinkman said, is to change the terms of the discussion and try to bring it more toward the center.

District 20 includes eastern Alachua County along with swaths southwest to Archer and northwest to Lacrosse. It also includes part of Marion County.

Watson outpolled Wheeler by wide margins in both counties.

Watson said he plans to make job creation and economic improvement a centerpiece of his time in the House.

Watson, who retired in 2009 as Alachua’s city manager with an intent of running for political office, said during the campaign that his major priority will be to help spur economic development.

“Some of the biggest issues we face are jobs and job opportunities. I think it is so very important that we create a climate to bring good jobs to District 20,” Watson said. “We have got to keep our education system funded and support our children. We also have to protect … our public safety personnel. To do that, we have to create a climate for businesses to thrive.”

Voters who want to cast a ballot for Brinkman must fill in a bubble next to the write-in line and then write Brinkman’s name on the line.

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