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This story was updated at 3:37 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020.

As the new year began, Chattanooga District 5 City Councilman Russell Gilbert appeared to indicate he'll run for city mayor in 2021.

In a public post and subsequent story on Facebook, Gilbert, who has represented Bonny Oaks, Dalewood, Eastgate, Woodmore and Lake Hills on the council since 2008, wrote "Happy New Year 2020 #Mayor2021."

The post includes an image of Gilbert with the words "In the midst of the darkness the light will shine," as well as an emblem of his name and a smaller logo that reads "Chattanooga Caring Beyond."

Gilbert's message comes 14 months before the March 2021 election, which will determine who will take two-term Mayor Andy Berke's seat.

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Chattanooga District 5 City Councilman Russell Gilbert is seen in a post on Facebook on Jan. 1, 2020 / Photo from Facebook

While Gilbert is the first council member to indicate he may seek the position, rumors have circulated about several of his colleagues running, including District 3 Councilman Ken Smith, who was exploring but did not confirm a 2021 run in 2017.

With over a year until the election, two community members — Small business consultant Monty Bruell and private executive agent Andrew McLaren — have publicly announced their candidacies.

Gilbert did not respond to multiple phone calls Wednesday morning to confirm or comment on the posts.

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @sarahgtaylor.

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