Clovis Watson elected to Florida House


Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:10 p.m.

Former Alachua City Manager Clovis Watson easily won election to the Florida House of Representatives from District 20 by outpolling write-in candidate Rob Brinkman.

Watson effectively won the post when he defeated fellow Democrat Marihelen Wheeler in the August primary.

But Gainesville's Brinkman had participated in campaign forums and earned some votes in both Marion and Alachua counties.

Watson collected 38,339 votes in Alachua County and 10,390 in Marion. Brinkman earned 1,900 in Alachua County and 421 in Marion. The results for both counties are unofficial.

Watson could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. He had to go through the general election after he outpolled Wheeler by wide margins throughout the district, which comprises parts of Alachua and Marion counties.

Retiring in 2009 as Alachua's city manager with an intent of running for political office, Watson 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."

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

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

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