Five qualify to run for Chattanooga mayor's seat

Mayor Andy Berke announces Monday, Sept. 6, 2016 at the Development Resource Center that he will be running for re-election as wife Monique looks on.


Candidate Withdrawal Deadline: Dec. 22 at 12 p.m. Write-In Candidate Certification Deadline: Jan. 16 Last Day to Register to Vote: Feb. 6 Last Day to Request Absentee Ballot: Feb. 28 Early Voting Period: Feb. 15-March 2 Election Day: March 7 For more information, contact the Hamilton County Election Commission at 423-493-5100 or visit their website at

The Hamilton County Election Commission has announced the candidates who have qualified to run for the Chattanooga mayor and city council seats on the March 7 ballot.

The mayor's race has turned into a five-way battle while a third of the nine council seat races will have no contest.

In all, 26 candidates have qualified to for the ballot, just one more than the number of candidates who ran in 2013. The current batch of office-seekers have until Dec. 22 to withdraw. Election commission records show 32 people picked up papers to qualify.

Incumbent council members Carol Berz and Ken Smith, who represent District 6 and District 3, respectively, will run unopposed. So will Darrin Ledford, who seeks the District 4 seat, which Larry Grohn left open to challenge Mayor Andy Berke's re-election bid.

Except for Grohn, every current member of the Chattanooga City Council seeks re-election.

Grohn's campaign, which launched in August, has aggressively challenged the Berke administration on a number of fronts, including the effectiveness of gang violence reduction efforts and the recent suspension of Youth and Family Development administrator Lurone Jennings.

"An entire generation of our city is in desperate need of education, opportunity, and hope," Grohn said in released statement in November.

The Berke campaign has rebuffed Grohn's attacks.

"One of our opponents is focused on using misleading claims to divide us, but the reality is Mayor Berke has spent the past four years changing the way our police department works with the community, reducing robberies and property crimes to an all-time low, and protecting women from domestic violence," Tyler Yount, Berke campaign manager said in an email.

Berke faces three other challengers, including three-time former city councilman David Crockett, Chris Long and Gail M. Francis, former chair of the Sign Language Interpreting Department at Tennessee Temple University.

Contact staff writer Paul Leach at 423-757-6481 or Follow him on Twitter @pleach_tfp.


District 1 Councilman Chip Henderson faces challengers Susan Miller and Jay Nevans. District 1 encompasses Lookout Valley, Moccasin Bend, Mountain Creek and portions of Hixson and North Chattanooga. District 2 Councilman Jerry Mitchell will run against Mickey McCamish. District 2 extends from the North Shore to Northgate, including the precincts of Lupton City, Riverview and Stuart Heights. District 5 Councilman Russell Gilbert takes on challengers Jeffrey E. Evans and Cynthia Stanley-Cash. District 5 includes precincts within Bonny Oaks, Dalewood, Eastgate, Kingspoint, Lake Hills and Woodmore. District 7 Councilman Chris Anderson faces Erskine Oglesby Jr. and Manny Rico. Anderson unseated Rico in a four-way race in 2013. District 7 represents precincts in Alton Park, East Lake, St. Elmo and downtown. District 8 Councilman Moses Freeman runs against Anthony Byrd and thomas p. kunesh. District 8 incorporates portions of Eastside, Amnicola, Avondale and Bushtown. District 9 Councilman Yusuf Hakeem, Pat Benson Jr., Demetrus Coonrod and John Kerns are vying for the District 9 seat. District 9 represents East Chattanooga, Eastdale, Glenwood, Missionary Ridge and Ridgedale.