Mayor Ron Littlefield files new challenge to recall

Mayor Ron Littlefield files new challenge to recall

December 17th, 2011 by Cliff Hightower in News

Document: Littlefield Complaint

Mayor Ron Littlefield will go back to the court where he won his lone legal victory and try once again to stop a recall election.

Hal North, attorney for Littlefield, filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to stop the Hamilton County Election Commission from holding a mayoral recall election in August 2012.

North said the mayor also is seeking to stop candidates from qualifying for a recall election by blocking the distribution of qualifying petitions.

"We hope to have a temporary injunction before qualifying [opens] on January 6," North said.

Littlefield is out of the country and could not be reached for comment Friday.

Election Commission attorney Chris Clem also could not be reached for comment.

Mike Walden, election commission chairman, said the mayor has a right to file a lawsuit.

"We can't stop him from suing," Walden said.

He said the commission only wants to be sure it is following proper procedure between the City Charter and state law, which both have provisions on how recall elections should be carried out.

Jim Folkner, with Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, said Friday he is not surprised by the new filing. He said the mayor should respect the election commission's decision to hold a recall vote.

"I just wish he'd go back and read that recall petition, because the things we brought up have not been addressed," Folkner said.


The Hamilton County Election Commission approved the following dates for the mayoral recall election:

• Jan. 6, 2012: Candidates may pick up qualifying petitions

• April 5, 2012: Qualifying deadline

• Aug. 12, 2012: Election day

Source: Hamilton County Election Commission

The story so far

The recall effort started last year when three groups -- Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield, Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Chattanooga Tea Party -- began collecting signatures on a recall petition. The groups got more than 15,000 signatures; the election commission ratified more than 9,000 of them.

But before the election commission could officially certify petitions, Littlefield sued in Hamilton County Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge Jeff Hollinsworth ruled in favor of Littlefield, stating the groups did not have enough signatures under state law.

The groups appealed. Three months ago the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled Hollinsworth should have let the election commission have a chance to certify petitions. Littlefield's request for a rehearing was denied.

North said the mayor had an option to go to Circuit Court, the Tennessee Supreme Court or both. The mayor has decided not to pursue any more appeals, North said.