Andraé McGary eyeing another run for council, after all

Andraé McGary eyeing another run for council, after all

December 9th, 2012 by Chris Carroll in Local Regional News

Andraé McGary speaks at a news conference at the Hamilton County Democratic Party headquarters.

Photo by Alyson Wright /Times Free Press.

Three neighborhood leaders close to City Councilman Andraé McGary say he's likely to announce he's running for re-election in District 8.

"I think he will, and I hope he does," Riverside Area Community Club President Odessa Greene said. "From our conversation, it seemed like he's already in."

A re-election campaign would surprise those who watched McGary say his council tenure was over when he announced a Democratic bid for state Senate. But he lost that race to Republican Todd Gardenhire, and community leaders say he's reconsidering the finality of quitting City Hall.

"I really believe he will run," Westside Community Association President Joyce Hardwick said. "His heart's in it. That's what I thought after [we talked]."

Greene, Hardwick and two other neighborhood association presidents close to McGary, 33, said he contacted them last week to discuss his local political future. The former talk radio host picked their brains about a second term, inquired about his status in the community and asked if residents would criticize him for going back on his word.

"If he wasn't very interested in running, I don't think he would have been asking those questions," East Chattanooga Improvement Inc. President James Moreland said.

McGary confirmed the conversations but said he'll announce his intentions this week.

Numerous inner-city leaders said they would welcome McGary's candidacy, citing his energetic nature and a shortage of young black leaders in Chattanooga.

Blacks constitute 35 percent of the city, but only two of nine council members are African-American. The number is the same on the Hamilton County Commission, and a single black sits on Hamilton County's seven-member legislative delegation. No blacks represent Tennessee in Congress.

"I want to see more blacks be part of the political process," Moreland said. "Andraé has presented himself well as a young man. I think he could be that [standard bearer] for us."

Others believe McGary's ambition has caught up with him at a young age; aside from the state Senate bid, he publicly has contemplated runs for mayor and Congress.

"I think with all his running and wanting to run, he's fallen out of touch," former Ferger Place Historical Organization President Tami Harrison said.

Seven of nine council races have at least two candidates, but District 8 isn't one of them. As of Friday, the unopposed hopeful was former city employee and administrator Moses Freeman, 74, a longtime civil rights activist.

"If he's in, I'm going to let the voters decide what his motivations are," Freeman said. "He himself would have to answer that question. I'm going to talk about me."

The qualifying deadline is Dec. 20. Meanwhile, McGary appears to be weighing the wisdom of launching a City Council campaign right after a failed state Senate bid.

In a recent Twitter message, the father of five wrote, "Forward [but after some needed rest]."