Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Beck kicked off his re-election campaign Monday evening with a promise that he won't flip-flop -- which some of his supporters say is a trait of his primary opponent, the Rev. Bernie Miller.
"I don't believe that you can be flim-flammed by a flip-flopper," Mr. Beck told the crowd assembled at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.
Mr. Beck did not call his opponent by name.
In the 2006 race for the commission's District 5 seat, Dr. Miller ran as a Republican against Mr. Beck in 2006. Mr. Beck received about 70 percent of the vote to Dr. Miller's 30 percent.
For this year's race, Dr. Miller is running as a Democrat, but that didn't pass muster with Mr. Beck's supporters.
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE
Name: Greg Beck
Occupation: City Court officer
Family: Wife, Patricia; six children, seven grandchildren
Early voting in the county primary election begins April 14 and ends April 29. The primary election is May 4.
Former Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Stuart James put it the most bluntly, stating that "Bernie Miller is not a Democrat." The crowd responded with cheers.
Dr. Miller, pastor of the New Covenant Fellowship Church, could not be reached for comment Monday evening, but has said that he has always retained Democratic ideals.
"I kind of did what the prodigal son did," he has said. "I left because of some things I didn't particularly agree with that the party was espousing."
Dr. Miller explained that he ran as a Republican because he gained support from local Republicans with whom he worked in the construction business.
At Monday's event, Chattanooga City Councilwoman Pam Ladd told the crowd that they each should donate at least $100 to Mr. Beck's campaign.
"I know he's a Democrat," Ms. Ladd said.
The incumbent commissioner cited helping young people and stopping gun violence as two major goals for his campaign.