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Chattanooga City Councilman Larry Grohn
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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.
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David Crockett

Longtime educator Gail Francis has dropped out of Chattanooga's mayoral race to support Larry Grohn's bid for the seat.

Francis was one of five candidates who qualified to seek the mayor's seat, but she withdrew Thursday, the deadline to pull out.

Mayor Andy Berke, former three-time councilman David Crockett and businessman and former builder Chris Long remain in the race with Grohn, the councilman in District 4.

The Grohn campaign released a statement by Francis on Thursday.

"I had the opportunity to meet and speak to Councilman Grohn, and believe that the issues that are important to me, issues that pushed me into this race are issues that Councilman Grohn is standing on," Francis said. "It is time for change in our city. It is time for action and a new direction."

Grohn said he was honored to have her support, citing her work with Orange Grove, service on boards across the community and "a heart that loves our inner city and the drive to see the change we need."

None of the 21 people running for Chattanooga's nine City Council seats withdrew. Except for Grohn, all the incumbent members are seeking re-election. Ken Smith in District 3 and Carol Berz in District 6 are unopposed. Darrin Ledford is unopposed for Grohn's seat.

Yusuf Hakeem, in District 9, faces the most challengers: Pat Benson Jr., Demetrus Coonrod and John L. Kerns.

Jerry Mitchell faces Mickey McCamish, in District 2.

The remaining district races are three-way contests. In District 1, Susan Miller and Jay Nevans have challenged incumbent Chip Henderson.

Councilman Russell Gilbert faces off against Jeffrey Evans and Cynthia Stanley-Cash in District 5.

District 7 Councilman Chris Anderson faces Manny Rico, who he unseated in a four-way race in 2013, and Erskine Oglesby Jr.

Moses Freeman, now the council's chairman, faces challenges from Anthony Byrd and thomas p. kunesh for the District 8 seat.

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

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