published Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Mike Carter drops out of county mayor race, will resign from county job


by Dan Whisenhunt
  • photo
    Accompanied by his wife, Joan Carter, Mike Carter smiles as he talks with people outside the Hamilton County Commission room on Monday morning after commissioners deadlocked in making a choice between Carter and Commissioner Jim Coppinger to replace the outgoing County Mayor.
    Staff photo by John Rawlston

Mike Carter, special assistant to Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, today announced he will let County Commissioners who previously voted for him “vote their conscience” and said he would resign his position effective Monday. He also said he is considering a run for the office in 2012.

“I know I have the skills and abilities to be County Mayor, and Joan and I are already praying about running for office in 2012. This experience showed me many things about the ugly side of politics, but public service is still an honorable thing to do. However, I have the time, friends and commitment to prepare for 2012 and I intend to prayerfully consider running for County Mayor over the next few months,” Carter wrote.

On Friday, Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey changed his vote in support of Commission Chairman Jim Coppinger, giving Coppinger the necessary fifth vote to be appointed mayor, and said Carter’s allegations of backroom dealings in the mayoral selection process was a big reason for his switch.

Today, Carter reiterated those allegations.

“As former County Executive Dalton Roberts said in the paper Friday morning, it is clear to all who chose to see that Commissioner Skillern and our soon-to-be County Mayor Coppinger had manipulated the process to allow Commissioner Coppinger to become mayor, and if necessary, without a vote,” Carter wrote. “With Commissioner Mackey’s change of heart, that won’t be the case, but the transparency of the Commission’s work will be interesting to watch in the days and months ahead.”



Carter's full statement

Carter: “Being Candidate for County Mayor an Honor”

County Mayor Candidate Mike Carter said today that he has been honored to be a candidate for the County Mayor’s office and that he is prayerfully considering running for the office in 2012. Carter also said he will resign his position in the County Mayor’s office effective Monday.

“The overwhelming support in the form of emails, phone calls and prayers over the past few weeks has been humbling and is deeply appreciated by me and my family,” said Carter. “Being a candidate for County Mayor has been an honor because of the incredible people that I have had the privilege to talk to over the past month.”

Carter said he respects Commissioner Warren Mackey’s decision to change his vote. “I told the four Commissioners supporting me on Friday that I wanted them to ignore the prior votes and to vote their conscience on Monday morning. I thank Commissioners Beck, Boyd, Bankston and Mackey for supporting me.”

Carter said he was dismayed that the process to select an interim County Mayor did not reflect the transparency and openness that County citizens deserve. “As former County Executive Dalton Roberts said in the paper Friday morning, it is clear to all who chose to see that Commissioner Skillern and our soon-to-be County Mayor Coppinger had manipulated the process to allow Commissioner Coppinger to become mayor, and if necessary, without a vote. With Commissioner Mackey’s change of heart, that won’t be the case, but the transparency of the Commission’s work will be interesting to watch in the days and months ahead.”

Carter said the worst part of the process were the falsehoods and attacks on his character. “There were a lot of things said behind the scenes about me that were simply lies, and I have to believe the people saying them knew they were lies. I guess that is part of being a political candidate, but that’s very unfortunate.”

Carter pointed to the assertion made by some that he was the source of information regarding the ethics complaint filed against Judges Bob Moon and David Bales. “I think the record now clearly shows that I had absolutely nothing to do with the complaint against the two judges. Nevertheless, many Commissioners were told I was responsible.”

Carter said he would submit a letter of resignation to Mayor Claude Ramsey on Monday for his position in the Mayor’s office and that he will continue to work in the private sector.

“I know I have the skills and abilities to be County Mayor, and Joan and I are already praying about running for office in 2012. This experience showed me many things about the ugly side of politics, but public service is still an honorable thing to do. However, I have the time, friends and commitment to prepare for 2012 and I intend to prayerfully consider running for County Mayor over the next few months.”

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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Allison12 said...

Mr. Whisenhunt U R a rock star reporter. Thanks for working on Sat.

January 8, 2011 at 1:43 p.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Rhonda Thurman wrote pretty convincingly to The Chattanoogan that a conspiracy such as Mr. Carter alleged would've been too complicated; arrangements including Mr. Skillern's son becoming sick at this time would've had to have been made last October.

January 8, 2011 at 2:13 p.m.
mymy said...

Glad to see the long planned conspiracy by Ramsey and Carter did not work out. :)

January 8, 2011 at 3:16 p.m.
Allison12 said...

mymy U R well informed and correct.

January 8, 2011 at 3:26 p.m.
rosebud said...

Maybe he can go back to being a bus driver for Zach Wamp. Except this time he won't be doing it on taxpayer time.

January 8, 2011 at 4:13 p.m.
chrisbrooks said...

"These kinds of backdoor political procedures have become the norm. Our city’s political establishment has become characterized by its narrow decision-making processes, mediocre leaders, and a failure to appreciate our greatest resource: the people."

http://chattanoogapulse.com/pulsefeatures/beyond-the-headlines/beyond-the-headlines-community-deserving-of-good-leadership/

January 8, 2011 at 6:12 p.m.
hadassah said...

As for running in 2012 Mr.Carter...DON'T BOTHER!!!

January 8, 2011 at 9:21 p.m.
charleshighway said...

Dalton Roberts had it right on Friday.

This is naked connivance on the part of the commission, particularly Fred Skillern and Larry Henry.

That it is taking place is no surprise. That it is taking place openly shows that these men have no regard for the rule of law nor respect for the citizens of this county.

They run this show and "its how we've always done it. Ain't it boys."

I commend Mr. Dalton Roberts for speaking out and for calling a spade a spade. It is my sincere hope that as this county grows and becomes more sophisticated,its residents will demand more accountability from its leadership.

January 8, 2011 at 9:27 p.m.
mymy said...

One conspiracy out did the other long planned conspiracy. So what else is new. LOL What's next?

January 8, 2011 at 10:23 p.m.
docspop said...

If Mr Skillern does not have time to be interim mayor then does not have time to be a commissioner. I think it would be of best interest of all Hamilton Co. residents that he would step down as commissioner also.But why should he it's just part of old time fat boy politics.God have mercy on all Hamilton County residents.

January 8, 2011 at 10:31 p.m.
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