published Monday, February 27th, 2012

Potential Chattanooga mayoral race already changing

by Cliff Hightower

With the Chattanooga mayoral election just more than a year away, the field of possible candidates is fluid.

At least one potential candidate whose name was floated earlier now says she's not going to get in the race.

"I think I can make a big impact here," said Kim White, executive director of the River City Co. "So, unless something unforeseen happens, I don't see myself doing that."

Potential candidates' names began floating in November as the city faced an August recall election.

Besides White, state Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga; Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd; Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield; County Commissioner Warren Mackey; former city employee Guy Satterfield and Todd Womack, chief of staff for Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., were mentioned.

White acknowledged that the recall effort affected her decision.

"I think it did more to harm our city than help," she said.

Circuit Court Judge Jeff Hollingsworth two weeks ago ruled against the recallers and stopped the planned Aug. 2 election. Unless the recallers appeal and win, the next mayoral election will be on schedule in March 2013.

Folkner said he picked up papers for mayor for the August election, but he hasn't decided whether he'll run in March.

"I really wouldn't know," he said. "That's a long ways away."

He said the groups may appeal Hollingsworth's latest ruling.

Mackey and Satterfield could not be reached for comment.

Berke said Friday he is still weighing whether to run.

He'll announce a decision "when the time is right," he said. "That race is still a year away."

Ladd also still is undecided. She said Berke is a viable candidate who would be well organized and well funded. And she'll consider who else gets in the race.

"I still have an interest in it," she said. "Obviously, I have to see other candidates come forward."

Womack said Friday that he enjoys his public service in Washington, D.C., and isn't ready to announce anything.

"It's a little premature for me," he said.

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