Dr. Mary Headrick is running in the Democratic primary to be the candidate for Tennessee's 3rd congressional district.Contributed Photo
KEY ELECTION DATES
* Saturday: Last day to register by mail to vote
* Monday: Last day to register in person to vote
* Oct. 30: Last day to request absentee ballot
* Oct.17-Nov.1: Early voting
* Nov. 6: Election Day
Source: Hamilton County Election Commission
Candidate Dr. Mary Headrick scored a coveted endorsement in local Democratic circles this week, landing the backing of former U.S. Rep. Marilyn Lloyd in a bid for the congressional seat Lloyd held for two decades.
An acute care physician from Maynardville, Headrick is the Democratic nominee in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District, which includes Chattanooga, Oak Ridge and several rural counties that extend to the Kentucky border. She is facing off against incumbent Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Redistricting has altered the district over time, but it includes the same geographical core Lloyd represented for 20 years and five presidential administrations, from Gerald Ford to Bill Clinton.
Known for touting Oak Ridge National Laboratory and promoting breast cancer awareness, Lloyd was the first Tennessee woman ever elected to Congress for a full term. In a statement released by the Headrick campaign, Lloyd said she supports Headrick's positions on increasing the minimum wage, defending public education and protecting Social Security and Medicare.
Lloyd, 83, could not be reached in calls to her Chattanooga home Wednesday. Headrick said it took about eight weeks to track down the former congresswoman to discuss an endorsement.
A Democrat hasn't won the 3rd District since 1992, when Lloyd edged up-and-coming Republican Zach Wamp in her final bid for Congress. Since then, Republicans are on a nine-election win streak, buffeted by friendly redistricting, eight Wamp victories and a 2010 triumph from Fleisch-mann.
Lloyd has granted several 3rd District endorsements since leaving Congress, but she hasn't supported every Democratic nominee.
In 1994, she backed her former press secretary, Eddie Patterson, who finished fifth in the Democratic primary. A year later, she shocked her party and promoted Wamp's first re-election bid, which he won narrowly.
"I haven't left the Democratic Party, but I am supporting him," Lloyd told the Chattanooga Times in 1995. "I have worked closely with Zach over the last year, and I've been happy with his performance."
Lloyd kept a low political profile until Wamp announced an unsuccessful run for governor in 2009. She then endorsed former Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Paula Flowers.
Flowers dropped out of the 3rd District race soon afterward. Lloyd later supported Brenda Freeman Short, another former staff member who finished second in the 2010 Democratic primary.