published Monday, May 19th, 2014

Rhonda Thurman launches write-in campaign for Fred Skillern's seat

District 1 school board member Rhonda Thurman will challenge Republican primary winner Randy Fairbanks for Fred Skillern's seat on the Hamilton County Commission.

Fairbanks, a Soddy-Daisy CPA, upset Skillern in the May 6 Republican primary, winning by 52 votes. There is on Democratic opposition in the August election.

Thurman, in the midst of her third term on the Hamilton County school board, has long been a close political ally of Skillern. But she said it was not Skillern's idea for her to run — residents of the northern stretches of the county approached her about running after Skillern's loss earlier this month, she said.

She plans to aggressively campaign — something observers noted was lacking in Skillern's latest run for office. But mainly, she said she'll have to get the word out about how the write-in process works. It requires a voter to both fill in a bubble and write in a candidate's name.

"We will have to educate people on how to do it," she said.

about Kevin Hardy...

Kevin rejoined the Times Free Press in August 2011 as the Southeast Tennessee K-12 education reporter. He worked as an intern in 2009, covering the communities of Signal Mountain, Red Bank, Collegedale and Lookout Mountain, Tenn. A native Kansan, Kevin graduated with bachelor's degrees in journalism and sociology from the University of Kansas. After graduating, he worked as an education reporter in Hutchinson, Kan., for a year before coming back to Chattanooga. Honors include a ...

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