Indicted senator wins; Ford to face Roland; 3 incumbents lose

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Sen. Kathryn Bowers was confident her constituents could look past the bribery charges she faces in the Tennessee Waltz public corruption sting, and the returns in Thursday night's primary proved her right.

The Memphis Democrat posted a more than 2-1 lead over her closest challenger, with 12,987 votes, or 57 percent, while Stephen Webster, had 4,985, or 22%.

In other legislative primary races, Democrat Ophelia Ford and Republican Terry Roland will face a November rematch to claim the seat in Senate District 29, and three House incumbents were defeated.

Bowers is one of four sitting lawmakers accused of taking bribes from undercover agents in the federal investigation and is the only one seeking re-election this year. Two have resigned and the fourth, Sen. Ward Crutchfield, is in the middle of his four-year term.

Bowers, who couldn't be reached for comment Thursday, previously said she was optimistic about winning because "people know about the work I've done in the past."

"I have a very intelligent constituency that understands that a person is innocent until proven guilty," said Bowers, a civil rights activist and veteran lawmaker who was elected to the House in 1994 and to the Senate last year in a special election.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)