published Friday, May 4th, 2012

Andy Berke running for Chattanooga mayor

by Cliff Hightower

Would you support Andy Berke for mayor of Chattanooga?

State Sen. Andy Berke will announce he is running for Chattanooga Mayor on Tuesday, a source close to the campaign said.

An email blast sent out to supporters and constituents today said Berke will have an announcement about “Chattanooga’s future” 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Chattanooga Theatre Center. He becomes the first of several potential candidates to officially take steps to get into the race.

Other names floated for the city’s top job include Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd, County Commissioner Warren Mackey, Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee Executive Director Roger Tuder, Sen. Bob Corker’s chief of staff Todd Womack, Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield leader Jim Folkner, longtime city employee Guy Satterfield and former mayoral candidate Rob Healy.

Berke, a Democrat, will step down from his state senate seat at the end of the year after deciding not to run for reelection. His decision comes on the heels of the Republican-controlled Tennessee General Assembly realigning his district to include heavily Republican Bradley County and removing primarily Democratic Marion County.

Three Democrats, Andraé McGary, Quenston Coleman and David Testerman, are seeking the state Senate seat. Republicans Todd Gardenhire and Greg Vital are vying for the job in the Republican primary.

Berke, an attorney, began his political career in a special election in 2007 to replace former state Sen. Ward Crutchfield. He won that race and a subsequent reelection next year against Republican Oscar Brock.

Berke will be running to replace current Mayor Ron Littlefield, who is term limited.

The city election for mayor will be in March 2013.

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