A candidate has dropped out of the Chattanooga City Council race after complaints were lodged against him, raising questions about whether he even lived in the city.
According to a document filed with the Hamilton County Election Commission on Thursday afternoon, nonprofit outreach coordinator LaDarius Price withdrew from the District 5 council race, which he entered late this past summer, after officials began to look into his residency.
Last week, Price was accused of faking his residency to run in the district for the March 2021 election due to evidence found on his social media and provided by his apparent landlord which all suggested he actually lives in Ooltewah, outside of Chattanooga, or he did until very recently. He denied any association with the Ooltewah home.
Under the Chattanooga city charter, candidates must have lived in the district for which they are running for one year prior to the election. District 5 Candidate Dennis Clark complained about the residency issue to the election commission last week, then hired an attorney and brought his complaint to the state early this week, after Price declined Clark's request that he step down.
Now, Clark says he and his campaign are ready to move on from the situation and are dropping the complaints.
"It has been brought to our attention that LaDarius Price has withdrawn his candidacy. We appreciate his interest in public service and wanting to make District 5 a better community," Clark wrote Thursday. "We share the same interest in creating vibrant neighborhoods where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. We wish Mr. Price and his family all the best in their future endeavors. I look forward to working with him as we come together to fight for social justice, equity and opportunity for all the people of the district."
Even with Price out of the race, questions about his voter registration forms, which are signed under penalty of perjury, have been raised to state officials. Voter registration fraud has taken on a higher profile nationwide because of ongoing publicity about such concerns in the Nov. 3 presidential election.
Price declined to comment on Thursday.
Now Clark and four other candidates — Isaiah Hester, Alan Holman, Leanne Jones and Cynthia Stanley-Cash — are vying for the seat being vacated by Councilman Russell Gilbert, who is running for mayor. District 5 includes the Woodmore, Bonny Oaks, Dalewood, Eastgate, Kings Point and Lake Hills neighborhoods.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at email@example.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.