A Chattanooga firefighter union has endorsed Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley in the county mayor's race.
Smedley, R-Ooltewah, announced the endorsement from Chattanooga Fire Fighters Association Local #820 on Friday as endorsements for candidates roll in ahead of the May primary election.
"Our members are focused on providing first-rate services that lower costs for our businesses and homeowners while protecting the lives and livelihoods of the men and women who proudly stand ready to don turnout gear at any hour to keep our communities safe and save lives," the union said in a statement. "Our members closely examined the candidates and decided there is one candidate who clearly stands out for Hamilton County mayor, and that is Sabrena Smedley. Her record is rock solid, and we know we can count on her leadership."
In response, Smedley in a statement praised the work of first responders.
I have "always held the greatest esteem for the folks in uniform who show up at any time, day or night, in fair weather or foul, to rescue our citizens in their greatest hour of need," she said.
"As Hamilton County Commission chair, I have led the way on providing ample support for training, equipment, facilities and benefits that reflect the seriousness of the job we ask these men and women to perform on behalf of their neighbors," she said. "I am deeply thankful for the endorsement of Local 820. This is one more validation that I'm ready for the job and running for the right reasons."
The endorsement comes after the International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local #673, which is composed of sheriff's deputies and police officers, endorsed her earlier this month.
In a text message while on a plane Friday afternoon, she added the two endorsements are "humbling and encouraging."
The Times Free Press is maintaining a list to track endorsements of all candidates.
Matt Hullander, R-Chattanooga, for example, has announced endorsements by Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Chattanooga.
"I have been a supporter of Chuck for a number of years and we actually used to work together when he was an attorney and I was one of his clients," Hullander said earlier this month after the endorsement announcement. "We've known each other a long time and I look forward to working with him as mayor."
Hullander's website also includes a list of nearly 60 local residents who have endorsed him, which includes business leaders like Tom Decosimo, CEO of Decosimo Corporate Finance.
Candidate Weston Wamp so far has not announced any endorsements.
"Some of the biggest volunteers in our campaign are firefighters, and I couldn't have more respect for them," Wamp said in a Wednesday statement. "Our campaign will have plenty of big endorsements down the stretch, so stay tuned. Right now, we're focused on the endorsements that matter most, Hamilton County voters."
Wamp pointed to a variety of individuals that have donated to or worked along with his campaign.
Hamilton County school board member Joe Smith, of Hixson, was featured in one of Wamp's ads, he said. In addition, school board member Tiffanie Robinson, of Chattanooga, and Tennessee state Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, have donated to his campaign.
The voter registration deadline for the May 3 primary election is April 4. Early voting will take place between April 13 and April 28, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 26. The winners from the party primaries will meet in the general election in August.