Watkins specifically faces criminal charges of interference with law enforcement, providing false information; voting without being qualified; unlawful advance voting; and failing to notify the DMV of change of address.
News of the charges came moments before Watkins, who is up for reelection, appeared in a primary debate. Asked about the charges, Watkins said they were “very suspicious” and said he looked forward to clearing his name.
“This is clearly hyper-political. It comes out moments before our first debate and three weeks before the election. I haven’t done anything wrong,” he said, adding that he hadn’t yet seen the charges.
“I simply know that I look forward to clearing my name. I’ve done nothing wrong and look forward to setting the record straight.”
Watkins appeared to address the substance of at least one of the charges, stating, “As soon as I had realized that I had put my mailing address instead of my physical address we fixed it.”
CNN has reached out to Watkins’ office for comment.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.