Cochran cruises to victory

By Thomas Wilson
star staff

 Jerome Cochran won 23 of 24 county precincts and dominated early voting to win the Republican nomination for the 4th District House of Representatives seat in GOP state primary over challenger John Holsclaw on Thursday.
  According to unofficial results from the Carter County Election Commission, Cochran earned 3,942 votes to 2,089 votes for Holsclaw. Cochran expressed his gratitude to supporters at appreciation event held at a private residence adjacent to the Carter County Courthouse with live bluegrass music and refreshments.
  "I am grateful to the people of Carter County and all the people who voted for me," said Cochran who celebrated his win at the Carter County GOP headquarters on Thursday. "We stuck to our message of going down to Nashville with the purpose of lower taxes, less government spending, and upholding Carter County values."
  Cochran ran strong in the county and his home area of Happy Valley winning that precinct by a margin of 231 to 106 votes. He also won expected Holsclaw strongholds around the city of Elizabethton including the Courthouse, High School and Gap Creek precincts. Holsclaw's lone precinct win came in the Elk Mills precinct with 25 votes to 22 votes for Cochran. Both candidates campaigned aggressively taking to task the records and philosophies of the other in political ads and in the press.
  "We ran a positive campaign but we responded when we felt the people were being misled," said Cochran.
  "We ran a positive campaign but we responded when we felt the people were being misled," said Cochran.
  A graduate of Happy Valley High School, Cochran earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and his law degree from Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Va. He earned endorsements from the National Rifle Association, and the anti-abortion group Tennessee Right to Life, while Holsclaw was backed by the Tennessee Education Association and Tennessee State Employees Association.
  Cochran won his first term two years ago after upsetting Ralph Cole in the GOP primary in August 2002 and taking the state election three months later. Holsclaw was a fixture at the Carter County Courthouse for 27 years, winning seven terms as the county's assessor of property before retiring in 2003.
  Cochran sits on the House Transportation and Judiciary committees. He has staunchly advocated TennCare reform and sought to keep county roads projects on track.
  He said he looked forward to moving the county's pending road projects forward and pursuing all avenues possible to bring more jobs into Carter County. He said Thursday's vote affirmed the county's move toward a new direction.
  "I feel the people spoke loud and clear tonight," said Cochran. "We looked to the future of Carter County and not the past, and I think Carter County is prepared to go forward."