Recallers knocking on election door

Recallers knocking on election door

August 19th, 2010 by Cliff Hightower in Politics Local

Staff photo by Dan Henry/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Charlie Wysong, the recall effort coordinator, left, speaks to Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, the Administrator of Elections, at the Hamilton County Election Commission August 18, 2010 after handing in 2500 signatures of signed petitions in an attempt to recall Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield.

Chris Brooks stands beside a sport utility vehicle, holding up a 2-inch-thick sheaf of papers.

"This is what 2,500 signatures looks like," says Brooks, an organizer for Chattanooga Organized for Action.

On Wednesday, members of three organizations dropped off petitions with about 3,000 signatures at the Hamilton County Election Commission in an effort to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield.

The recall effort by Chattanooga Organized for Action, the Chattanooga Tea Party and Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield has been under way for more than a month. Organizers have until Aug. 30 to gather about 9,300 signatures, said Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, administrator of elections.

As of Wednesday, they had turned in around 8,600 signatures. Mullis-Morgan said that of 5,600 dropped off last week, 4,059 have been determined to be valid. Another 3,000 came in Wednesday.

The others were thrown out for various reasons, she said, such as incorrect addresses or signers who lived outside Chattanooga.

Charles Wysong, a member of the Chattanooga Tea Party, said he's confident the city will be holding an election in November for a new mayor.

"We will have the recall," he said. "Yes, we will."

Richard Beeland, spokesman for Littlefield, said Wednesday that "everything right now is speculative."

BY THE NUMBERS

* 8,600: Signatures on petitions turned into the Hamilton County Election Commission as of Wednesday

* 5,619: Signatures checked by the Election Commission as of Wednesday

* 4,059: Number of certified valid signatures

Source: Hamilton County Election Commission

The mayor's office will comment further after the process is completed, he said.

If the recall succeeds, Beeland said the mayor "absolutely" will run again.

Members of the recall effort said they have talked about recruiting someone to run against Littlefield.

Brooks said there is so much animosity in the city against the administration, "I don't think we have to worry about" finding someone to run.

Tobiah Tillman, also with Chattanooga Organized for Action, said he's heard many comments from people as he's gone door to door, asking for signatures.

"I've heard a lot of people say, 'You get this guy out, I'll vote,'" he said.

Mark West, president of the Chattanooga Tea Party, said the city needs a new direction.

"This is not a personal attack against Ron Littlefield," he said. "This is a difference in opinion on policy."