published Friday, November 9th, 2012

Chattanooga election next on the docket

by Cliff Hightower
People vote at Burk's United Methodist Church in Hixson.
People vote at Burk's United Methodist Church in Hixson.
Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Up next are the March elections.

After enduring months of political debate, advertising and campaigning by candidates for the White House and state offices, Chattanooga residents will get just a brief respite before deciding in March 2013 who will lead the city.

State Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, followed through on previous statements that he would seek the mayor's post by picking up qualifying papers Thursday, his campaign said. He already has hundreds of thousands of dollars raised for his campaign.

"Over the last few months, hundreds of volunteers and more than a thousand donors have committed to renewing Chattanooga," Berke said in a news release. "I look forward to the next phase as voters concentrate on our city elections."

Former City Parks & Recreation Director Rob Healy has said he formed an exploratory committee to decide on a potential run. He has not picked up qualifying papers.

Healy said this week he would make his decision within two weeks.

"Now that this election is over, I think people will start to think locally," he said.

Guy Satterfield, a former city employee, is the only other candidate to have picked up papers and qualified for the March 2013 mayoral election.

Others who have picked up papers for various seats include incumbent council members and hopefuls.

District 6 Councilwoman Carol Berz picked up her papers and currently is unopposed.

District 9 Councilman Peter Murphy also picked up his qualifying petition.

Jim Folkner, who helped lead a recall effort against Mayor Ron Littlefield, picked up his papers to run for the District 1 council seat. That seat is open; Councilwoman Deborah Scott recently announced she would not run for re-election.

Others who have picked up in the last two weeks:

• District 2: Thomas Lee III; Ryan Kopet; Jerry Mitchell.

• District 7: Melton Jackson.

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