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"Tomato Republic" documents Jacksonville mayoral race

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JACKSONVILLE (KYTX) - A restaurateur, a long-standing political fixture and a political ingénue walk into a small town political contest and compete head to head.

Sounds interesting, right? That's the plot for a documentary based on an East Texas town.

Jacksonville is home to more than 14,000 people. It's a town known for it's tomatoes,  and I guess you could say, some interesting characters, too.

"We ended up with something that was a real, heart warming story about a small town, every town America," said Whitney Graham Carter.

"Tomato Republic" was the idea of two hometown girls, Jenna Jackson and Whitney Graham Carter.

The movie focuses on small town politics.

This summer, Jacksonville had three candidates for mayor, a first since the 1970's.

First, you had the current mayor and longtime Jacksonville political figure, Kenneth Melvin. He was up against William Igbokwe, a recent college graduate, and popular restaurant owner, Rob Gowin.

"Three totally different personalities, perspectives, and views," said Rob Gowin. 

Gowin had a chance a to preview the movie.

"I found myself laughing hysterically and sobbing uncontrollably at the same time," said Gowin. 

From the director's perspective, there is something very special about growing up in a small town where you know everyone, and they know you, and all your business.

"If you're not so critical of yourself and you're looking at the big picture, I hope people see what we see. That's it's hilariously funny and it's an inside look at the politics," said Whitney Graham Carter.

To get an inside look behind the pine curtain of East Texas, CLICK HERE.

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