Regional Political Notebook: Hamilton County early voting ends April 26

Regional Political Notebook: Hamilton County early voting ends April 26

April 23rd, 2018 by Staff Reports in Local Regional News

Early voting ends April 26

Early voting in the May primary elections for Hamilton County offices continues through Thursday, April 26. Election Day is May 1.

Early voting sites and hours are:

» Brainerd Rec Center, 1010 N. Moore Road

10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday

» Collegedale City Hall, Fuller Community Room, 4910 Swinyar Drive

10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday

» Election Commission, 700 River Terminal Road

8 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

» Hixson Community Center, 5401 School Drive

10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday.

Voters need to bring photo ID issued by the state or federal government.

See a sample ballot at


Sankofa calls for campaign forum

The Sankofa Fund, a nonprofit that supports and funds efforts to improve Chattanooga's black communities, has scheduled a community meeting Wednesday where candidates for office are asked to come meet and talk with voters.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. at 202 w. 38th St. Refreshments will be served.


Fundraising strong for open House seat

One of the Republican candidates for the open state House District 30 seat says she has raised nearly $55,000 to date.

Esther Helton is competing with Jonathan Mason in the GOP primary for the seat. Helton has raised $54,814, compared to just more than $10,000 for Mason. After first-quarter expenditures, Helton had $46,516.78 to Mason's $6,837.56, according to Tennessee Registry of Election Finance records.

The lone Democrat in the race, Joda Thongnopnua, has raised $34,325 in cash to date and said his first-quarter receipts of $26,325 outpaced the $14,200 she brought in.

Thongnopnua said the total "puts him within striking distance of his Republican opposition and sets records for Democratic fundraising figures in the district."

Vincent Butler, Helton's campaign consultant, said she front-loaded her fundraising late last year so as not to compete with candidates in county primaries.

Helton is a nurse and serves on the East Ridge City Council. Thongnopnua is executive director of the Metro Ideas Project, a nonprofit urban policy startup that works on municipal issues.

Mason is a client specialist at Unum who has worked on several other Republican candidates' political campaigns and is active in the YMCA.

The district includes portions of Apison, Brainerd, Collegedale, East Brainerd, East Lake, East Ridge, Missionary Ridge and Ooltewah.


Picture murky in District 28

Only two of the six candidates running in House District 28 have filed first-quarter financial reports, according to the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. First-quarter reports were due April 10.

Five Democrats are seeking the nomination for the seat, which is open because incumbent JoAnne Favors is retiring.

Democrat Jackie Thomas Anderson reported started the quarter with no money. She reported $1,881 in contributions and spent $301, leaving her with a balance of $1,580.

Two Democrats, Dennis Clark and Melody Shekari, didn't appoint campaign treasurers before March 30 and weren't required to file reports, registry executive director Drew Rawlins said Friday.

The other two, Yusuf Hakeem and Brandon Woodruff, "owe a 1st Quarter report but have not filed one," Rawlins said via email from Nashville.

The lone Republican in the race, Lemon C. Williams Jr., started the quarter with no money. He took in $2,420.55 in contributions, including $1,051.93 from himself, and spent $1,964.20, leaving him with $456.35 going forward.

The district includes Alton Park, Bonny Oaks, East Chattanooga, Glenwood, Lake Hills, Moccasin Bend, Ridgedale 1 and Woodmore 1.


Hedrick tops White in Circuit campaign

Kyle Hedrick has both an incumbent's and a fundraising advantage in the Circuit Court Division 4 race.

Hedrick was appointed to the position in October after judge Neil Thomas retired. Now he and Catherine "Cate" White are competing for the right to fill out the last years of the term.

In a news release, Hedrick said he has raised $106,930 from 216 donors. That includes $43,355 raised in the first quarter of 2018. He spent $34,227.87 and had $71,882.75 heading into the second quarter.

White reported starting the first quarter with $3,541 and raising $9,030. That included $2,800 from herself. She spent $12,531 and had a balance of balance $39.92.


Complaint filed in Bradley sheriff race

A Bradley County, Tenn., commissioner has filed a complaint with the 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office alleging unauthorized use of county equipment for campaign purposes in the sheriff's race.

Commissioner Dan Rawls said invitations to a February campaign event were emailed from a computer used by Richard McAllister, a friend and top aide to Sheriff Eric Watson.

Watson is seeking re-election and held a chili supper Feb. 3 at Oak Grove Elementary School.

Emailed invitations from said: "You are welcome to attend Sheriff Watson's Community Wide Chili Supper. Come hear about the award-winning Bradley County Sheriff's Office and the future of Bradley County Law Enforcement. Feel free to come say if you [sic] words about your campaign."

Copies of the emailed invitations were sent to Republican U.S. Senate candidates Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher and GOP gubernatorial hopefuls Randy Boyd, Beth Harwell and Bill Lee. The information was uncovered in public records requests filed by Christians for Accountable Leadership, a political action committee supporting Watson's opponent.

A state law known as the Little Hatch Act says publicly owned property cannot be used on behalf of political candidates.

District Attorney Steve Crump said Thursday he had received the complaint and was checking state statutes to see how to proceed. He said his office would contact the state attorney general's office and the Tennessee Election Commission for information and act "as expeditiously as possible."

Crump said he's received only one other complaint in this election season so far.

Bradley County Constable Dewayne Hicks has alleged one of his campaign opponents was giving away gifts in return for sharing and liking his Facebook page, Crump said.

"We have reviewed that," he said. "We don't believe it's anything criminal, but it could be campaign finance violations if he didn't report on his forms."