State Rep. Eric Watson to retire from Legislature, run for sheriff

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- State Rep. Eric Watson, the chairman of the House Criminal Justice Committee, says he won't seek re-election to the Legislature next year and will instead run for sheriff of Bradley County.

Watson, a Cleveland Republican, was elected in a 2006 special election to the seat previously held by former Rep. Chris Newton, who had pleaded guilty to bribery charges in the FBI's Tennessee Waltz sting operation. He has served in the Legislature since 2006 and has been a committee chairman since 2010.

In 2011, Watson resigned from his position as a captain in the judicial services department of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office. He was a leader among lawmakers in seeking to have Wall Street protesters barred from camping on the plaza across from the state Capitol.

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