Chattanooga mayor names former Hamilton County mayor as campaign treasurer

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Then-Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger, left, and Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly speak June 30 before an announcement at the Wheland Foundry site about plans to build a new multiuse stadium for the Chattanooga Lookouts. Kelly has appointed Coppinger to be has campaign treasurer ahead of the 2025 city election cycle.

Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has brought on former Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger to serve as his campaign treasurer in advance of the 2025 city election cycle.

Kelly filed paperwork with the Hamilton County Election Commission on Dec. 30 indicating he had appointed Coppinger to that role. Coppinger served as county mayor for 11 years starting in 2011 before stepping down at the end of his latest term. He was succeeded as Hamilton County mayor by Weston Wamp, who was sworn in Sept. 1.

"Mayor Coppinger was hugely helpful to me as I entered the city mayor's office, always patient and focused on what was best for our region as a whole," Kelly said through a spokesperson Friday. "As our relationship grew, he became a true friend as well, and I always appreciate his common-sense advice and his deep commitment to this community. I could not think of a better or more experienced person to serve as my treasurer, so I was overjoyed when he agreed to serve in that capacity."

Kelly was elected in April 2021 following a runoff against former River City Co. CEO Kim White. He overlapped with Coppinger for a period of approximately 16 months. Kelly hasn't officially announced plans for re-election.


"I had an opportunity to see him both professionally and personally, so obviously, we built a good working and personal relationship during that period of time," Coppinger said by phone Thursday. "When he called me and asked if I would be willing to do it, I just thought it would be a small token of my appreciation for the work we were able to do together."

Coppinger said he knew Kelly long before he was mayor and admired his leadership qualities as he took on that role.

"He's the guy that can continue to recruit businesses and create jobs here and create the workforce development that needs to be done," he said. "He seems to really have a handle on what he's doing. I'm totally impressed with him."

Kelly's most recent campaign financial disclosure statement was his year-end supplemental filed Jan. 30. It shows he took in $93,656.86 in contributions from July 1, 2022, through Jan. 15.

His campaign has spent $43,394.53 over the same period, the biggest expenditure being $22,419.44 to the Westin Chattanooga for use as a fundraising venue.

Contact David Floyd at or 423-757-6249.