Tennessee's district 3 race heats up in final month

Tennessee's district 3 race heats up in final month

July 2nd, 2012 by Ansley Haman in News

Mitzi Yates, Marty Haynes

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A month from today, Republican Marty Haynes and Democrat Mitzi Yates will battle at the ballot box for the chance to serve in Hamilton County Commission District 3 for the next two years.

A special election is being held Aug. 2 to fill the remainder of the term begun in September 2010 by Jim Coppinger. Coppinger was appointed interim county mayor in January 2011 after Claude Ramsey became deputy governor.

The district includes Hixson and Middle Valley.

Both Haynes, a 53-year-old Porter Warner Industries sales representative, and Yates, a 47-year-old claims representative at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, grew up in the Hixson area.

Haynes has outraised Yates by 5-to-1, raking in more than $15,000 while Yates has collected less than $3,000. But Haynes spent at least $14,977 in a hotly contested primary where he defeated interim Commissioner Mitch McClure. Yates ran unopposed in the March 6 Democratic primary.

"We haven't been doing fundraising of a heavy duty since the spring," Yates said.

Haynes said Friday he is continuing his strategy of campaigning door to door.

"Our main effort has really been knocking on doors and staying face to face with people," Haynes said.

He also has a fundraiser scheduled for next week.

Yates said she is riding her bicycle up and down Hixson Pike and engaging in "retail politics."

"We attend events that are local," Yates said Friday. "I've been engaging in my bicycle campaign. I put two signs on the side of my bicycle, and down Hixson Pike I go."

Haynes became politically active through the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club, which he headed last year. In 2010, he made an unsuccessful bid for school board in District 3.

Yates is a political novice, though she said she was an active Democrat in college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

She decided to run after county commissioners moved her Dallas Bay home from District 1 to District 3 in last fall's redistricting. The county must redraw political boundaries every 10 years to account for population shifts based on U.S. census data.

"District 3 is facing fundamental choices," Yates said. "It's going from suburban, rural - historically and currently - into development and urbanization for its future. It's facing the quality-of-life issues that are currently being decided by very specific interests that have financial gain in mind."

Though Haynes said he's interested in the county's fiscal issues, he said people always approach him about road conditions and education.

"A couple of schools in particular are going to be on my front burner, and to get some capital improvements at all of our schools," he said.