published Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Larry Grohn defeats Jack Benson in District 4 runoff


by Cliff Hightower
Larry Grohn gets a hug from his wife, Carol, as election results come in Tuesday at the Marriot Courtyard.
Larry Grohn gets a hug from his wife, Carol, as election results come in Tuesday at the Marriot Courtyard.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

VOTE TOTALS

Larry Grohn: 1,077

Jack Benson: 692

Source: Hamilton County unofficial election results

Larry Grohn beat longtime Chattanooga Councilman Jack Benson on Tuesday night in a fight between former educators.

Grohn, 65, will be sworn in Monday as the District 4 city councilman, along with the other eight council members.

"It was a lot of hard work," Grohn said Tuesday night. "The beginning is over. Now it's time for the real hard work to begin."

Grohn received 1,077 votes to Benson's 692 votes.

Grohn ran a grass-roots race, knocking on doors while facing a better-financed opponent in Benson. Grohn will represent a district that primarily covers the East Brainerd area. The runoff election occurred after Benson and Grohn split the majority of the votes in a five-person race during the March 5 city election.

Grohn will make $22,651 annually for serving on the council.

Benson, who served on the council for 12 years, bowed out gracefully.

"I wish him well, and I hope he serves the district and the city well," Benson said.

Benson said he felt as if he left a legacy.

"I've had 12 years in what I felt was quality growth in the district," he said.

Grohn is a retired educator who moved to Chattanooga five years ago. He worked for 15 years with Sears & Roebuck in Texas and then left that job to go back to school and pursue a second career.

He has worked as a teacher in Colorado, Oklahoma and in Chattanooga and retired after 17 years.

The first signs of his political involvement came in Chattanooga three years ago as a member of the Chattanooga Tea Party.

Seven new members will be on the City Council next Tuesday night for the first of the new council's meetings. The two incumbents, Councilwoman Carol Berz and Councilman Russell Gilbert, were unopposed in their elections.

Grohn said he was in the right place at the right time for change.

The councilman-elect has been attending council meetings regularly for years.

"I've been living this for three years," Grohn said. "I'm ready to step in."

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