• Sept. 21, 2012: First month when candidates can pick up petitions for mayoral election
• March 5, 2013: Mayoral election
• April 9, 2013: Mayoral runoff, if needed
Source: Hamilton County Election Commission
At least 10 people are considering a run for Chattanooga mayor, even though the election is 18 months away.
Those considering a run for the city's top elected position include men, women, blacks, whites, elected officials, public servants and businesspeople. The nonpartisan race to succeed Mayor Ron Littlefield, who will have served two terms and cannot run again, will be held March 5, 2013.
Richard Wilson, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said several factors play into interest in the mayor's post.
"Littlefield can't run again," he said. "It's an open field. The contentiousness, the economic downturn, the change in county leadership all have brought on interest."
Several people confirmed last week they are considering a run for mayor, including City Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd, City Councilman Andraé McGary, Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey, businessmen Roger Tuder, Greg Vital and Jim Folkner, and River City Co. executive Kim White.
Others whose names were mentioned for a possible run include state Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, local businessman and philanthropist Charlie Brock and Todd Womack, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker's chief of staff.
City Councilman Peter Murphy said after some consideration he is leaning against entering the race.
Vital said there is too much animosity between the county's two largest governments and he wants that to change.
"I personally don't like the conflict between the city and the county," he said.
Tuder said there are plenty of issues to spark a look at the mayor's race, including job growth and city-county relations.
"There's a lot of igniters out there making people think about how we can get some cohesion," he said.
Contacted last week, Berke said he is only concerned with his upcoming re-election bid in 2012. McGary said he would support Berke if the senator joined the mayor's race.
Womack said there is still plenty of time to consider a run. Corker, who was mayor from 2001 to 2005, did not announce his campaign until the Labor Day before the city election in March, he noted.
Cliff has worked for the Times Free Press for five years and covers Chattanooga city government. He previously covered Rhea County, as well as transportation and growth and development in Southeast Tennessee. A native of Maryville, Tenn., Cliff graduated in 2003 from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis on journalism. Before coming to Chattanooga, he was a crime reporter with Hernando Today, a supplement of The Tampa (Fla.) ...