published Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Bradley County sheriff contenders spar at Kiwanis Club debate

Eric Watson and Jim Ruth
Eric Watson and Jim Ruth
Photo by WRCB-TV Channel 3 /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Current Sheriff Jim Ruth and state Rep. Eric Watson, Republican candidates in the race for Bradley County sheriff, traded verbal blows today on experience, character and integrity at a noontime debate hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland.

"In this campaign, my opponent's attacks on my administration has been very typical of attacks on incumbent sheriff," Ruth said in his opening remarks at the Mountain View Inn. "When you have nothing to attack them on, you attack their chief deputy, you attack their supposedly bad morale, you attack things like that."

The county deserves fresh vision and new leadership, said Watson, who accused Ruth of running a top-heavy administration and of political favoritism.

Watson also accused Ruth of running a dirty campaign, citing a complaint filed by Ruth with the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance that was recently ruled as a "borderline abuse of process" and a "cheap-shot campaign gimmick" by ethics registry member Hank Fincher.

For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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