Black meets city supporters

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, a Republican primary candidate for governor, held a meet-and-greet event for supporters on Thursday at King Smoking Que Memphis Style on Hixson Pike.

Black, who is in an essentially four-person contest for the GOP nomination in the Aug. 2 primary, told the small but enthusiastic group she is the true conservative in the race. She told supporters not to believe recent ads alleging she wasn't a true conservative. Speaking about polls showing the gubernatorial race tightening, Black said polls can be made to say anything. She touted her support from the National Rifle Association, National Right to Life and the Family Research Council.

Chattanooga Tea Party founder Mark West introduced Black, who posed for pictures and talked up her campaign themes. Among those at the event were former state representative and current Republican Executive Committee member Bobby Wood, state Sen. Bo Watson, former state Rep. Chris Clem, state House candidate Robin Smith, retired Maj. Gen. Bill Raines and attorney Wayne Cropp.

District 30 debate set for Monday

Candidates vying for the Tennessee House District 30 seat will face off during a debate at 6:30 p.m. Monday at East Hamilton Middle High School.

District 30 includes East Brainerd, East Ridge, Apison, Missionary Ridge, Westview, East Lake, parts of Collegedale, parts of Brainerd, parts of Concord, parts of Ooltewah, and Ridgedale.

The forum will be hosted by parent groups from Apison Elementary and East Hamilton Middle High, with discussion topics focused on school safety, coming development and other issues pertinent to residents living in the area.

All three candidates — Republicans Jonathan Mason and Esther Helton and Democrat Joda Thongnopnua — have been invited to attend. Helton's campaign said Thursday the event conflicts with her East Ridge City Council duties so she won't be present.

The forum is open to the public and will be moderated by LaTrice Currie of WRCB-News Channel 3.

Early voting in the Republican and Democratic primaries for state and national House and Senate seats and the county general election starts July 13.

Fundraising totals released

Two candidates in the District 30 race have released their fundraising totals for the second quarter of 2018.

Republican Esther Helton's campaign said she raised $26,567 in the April-June quarter and $81,381 overall for her primary bid from more than 200 donors.

"I am honored to receive a groundswell of support and enthusiasm from all corners of District 30 and across Hamilton County who want to help with this campaign," Helton, a nurse, said.

Her opponent, Jonathan Mason, has not yet released fundraising totals for the quarter. The deadline to file is July 10.

Whoever wins the Aug. 2 primary will face Democrat Joda Thongnopnua, who said he has raised a bit more than $28,000 in the second quarter and more than $62,000 to date.

"District 30 is the most competitive race in the county," Thongnopnua said.

Right to Life supports Mason

House District 30 Republican candidate Jonathan Mason's campaign said Thursday he has been endorsed by Tennessee Right to Life.

"Of all endorsements, the Tennessee Right to Life is a very special endorsement for me," Mason said in a campaign news release. "I was raised in a family whose doors were always open to foster children. Life is a sacred gift and every life is special and worth protecting. This endorsement reflects not only my conservative views, but the way I was raised and the foundation for which I will serve the people of District 30."

The release says Tennessee Right to Life is committed to advocating and defending the right to life of all innocent human beings, born and unborn.

WTCI will broadcast school board debate

Chattanooga public television station WTCI-Channel 45 will broadcast Hamilton County school board debates July 12 at 8 p.m.

News anchor Greg Glover will moderate debates for candidates in Districts 3, 5, 6, 8 and 9 in front of a live audience at the WTCI studio, 7540 Bonnyshire Drive.

School board races are nonpartisan. Candidates include incumbent Joe Smith and challenger Miracle Hurley in District 3; incumbent Karitsa Mosely Jones and challenger Anne Pierre in the District 5; Michael Henry and Jenny Hill in District 6, where the incumbent isn't seeking re-election; incumbent David Testerman and challenger Tucker McClendon in District 8, and incumbent Steve Highlander vs challenger D'Andre Anderson in District 9.

An encore broadcast will air at 1 p.m. July 15.

For information, call Jennifer Crutchfield at 423-702-7815 or email at

Police endorse Baker, Martin

The International Brotherhood of Police Officers has endorsed Chip Baker in District 2 and Greg Martin in District 3 for the Hamilton County Commission.

The announcement said the IBPO did an in-depth look at the past work experience and practices of all the candidates running.

The release said Baker and Martin are successful businessmen who have built up businesses and maintained ethical practices and have been actively involved in community organizations for years before they ran for office.

"We believe that with upcoming issues facing Hamilton County Mr. Chip Baker and Mr. Greg Martin will be the voice that best represents the citizens living in Hamilton County Districts 2 and 3," the IBPO release stated.

Opening set for GOP HQ

The Hamilton County Republican Party will hold a grand opening at 5:30 p.m. July 11 for its new party headquarters at 3760 Ringgold Road. Please RSVP to

Honor military with your vote

The Tennessee secretary of state's office allows state residents to dedicate their votes in the upcoming elections to U.S. active duty military members or veterans, according to a news release.

Participants will have their dedications posted on the official Honor Vote List as well as the Honor Vote Twitter account @tnhonorvote. Voters can share their dedications on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #GoVoteTN.

The Division of Elections will send a packet to each participant with an official Honor Vote button. Voters are encouraged to wear their button while going to the polls in honor of the veteran or service member they are recognizing.

Each military branch — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Tennessee National Guard — now has its own button branded with its unique camouflage pattern.

To learn more, visit