published Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Rematch set for Hamilton County's District 8

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of stories about contested races in the August Hamilton County general election.

The Aug. 7 election may seem like deja vu for District 8 residents.

Republican Commissioner Tim Boyd will face Democrat Kenny Smith just as he did in 2010. But this time, the contest will be head to head.

In 2010, Boyd won 48 percent of the vote to Smith's 42 percent. Independent candidate Terry Turner took 2 percent.

Boyd says not much has changed in four years.

"The race I ran against Kenny Smith in 2010 probably won't be much different than the one I run in 2014. The difference is, I've got four years of history behind me, and he doesn't," Boyd said.

But Smith, a former school board chairman, has a different point of view. First, he says he's not running against Boyd or any candidate.

"I'm running for the position of county commissioner to see if I can help my district, and all of Hamilton County. I'm not running against anybody," he said.

Boyd was the second Republican to get elected in District 8 -- only because longtime Commissioner Curtis Adams flipped to the GOP just before the 2006 election. Boyd beat Adams in the May primary, and Adams has thrown his support behind Smith for August.

"I'm the only real Republican to ever hold the seat," Boyd said. "When I won in 2010, that was the biggest upset in Hamilton County history."

But Smith doesn't see District 8 in red and blue. He says what the district really needs is someone who can come to the table and work with other elected officials to get things done.

"I don't believe in being a rubber stamp for anybody. But I also don't agree with being against everything," Smith said. "I just want to do what's best for District 8."

Aside from working to create jobs in the district, Smith said he wants to work with East Ridge and Chattanooga to help make the neighborhoods safer.

He also has a focus on education -- but not in the traditional sense.

"One thing I'm very passionate about is a stand-alone career and technical high school. I think it's needed. It's not to discourage anybody from going to college, it's just another avenue people can take to get jobs," Smith said.

But Boyd said the topic of job growth is one on which he and Smith do not see eye-to-eye -- although Boyd wants to bring more jobs to District 8, too. Smith is a union electrician.

"This race is basically a right-to-work Republican versus a union Democrat, just like it was in 2010," Boyd said.

As of April, Smith had $23,303 on hand -- much of it coming from union groups and political committees, including Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's campaign.

Boyd had $2,105 on hand in April.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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