Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley said Wednesday she would make an announcement "important to Hamilton County" at a Thursday news conference, three days after she filed paperwork with the county elections commission to begin a run for county mayor.
Smedley, R-Ooltewah, declined to confirm Wednesday whether she will announce a mayoral bid. But if she does, she would be the third candidate — all Republicans — to enter the race.
If she announces a bid for mayor, Smedley would face off with Matt Hullander and Weston Wamp.
Smedley, 53, a real estate broker elected to the commission in 2018, first said in October she was "strongly considering" a run for mayor one day after Mayor Jim Coppinger, R-Hixson, announced he would not run for re-election in 2022.
She first filed financial documents with the Hamilton County Elections Commission on Monday, according to commission records.
Last week, Hullander and Wamp laid out their own visions if they were to be elected.
Hullander, of Chattanooga, held an event with dozens of supporters at the Hamilton County Courthouse. When asked about specific policy proposals, he said his plans are in the works and that he has been meeting with parents, school officials and government employees.
Concrete policies will be released on his campaign's website in the coming weeks, he said.
"Matt and Jenny welcome their friends Sabrena Smedley and her husband Mark to the race for mayor of Hamilton County," Hullander's campaign said in a statement. "The Hullander campaign remains committed to sharing Matt's vision for the county and ways to achieve those initiatives. Our campaign won't focus on other candidates. We intend to focus on what is truly important: the people of Hamilton County and the future Matt intends to build with them if he is given their trust."
Wamp, who also lives in Chattanooga, laid out plans that include creating a "Mayor's Parent Council," with representatives from all 79 Hamilton County schools. Its members would be nominated by their respective parent-teacher associations.
Through the council, the representatives would communicate to Wamp specific issues and desires regarding their schools such as budgetary needs.
Wamp's plans also include an apprenticeship program for high school students through which they would be able to be paid while earning trade certifications. Programs supporting education can lead to a decrease in violence and absenteeism, he said.
Finally, Wamp committed to only serving two terms, saying he has no plans of being a career politician. Hullander also has said he has no higher political aspirations.
"I think it's exciting," Wamp said. "I welcome her to the race. We've been working on conservative policies for years. I think it's an exciting development. I think it will make the race more positive, I hope. You have a multi-candidate race — it shouldn't be personal."
Both of Smedley's potential opponents have business backgrounds with a family history in government.
Hullander owned the home improvement company HullCo before selling it in April for an undisclosed amount to Pennsylvania-based West Shore Home. He is the son of Hamilton County Trustee Bill Hullander.
Wamp, a former congressional candidate and founder of the Millenial Debt Foundation, is the son of former U.S. Congressman Zach Wamp, and his sister, Coty Wamp, is challenging incumbent Neal Pinkston in a run for district attorney.
Contact Logan Hullinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-319-5158. Follow him on Twitter @LoganHullinger.