The exit of a potentially strong candidate from the 2013 Chattanooga mayor’s race Friday appears to leave almost a clear path for former state Sen. Andy Berke to walk into office, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Rob Healy, former Parks and Recreation director and businessman, dropped out Friday. Wayne Hamill, former Red Bank public works director and East Ridge city manager, and Chester Heathington Jr., a perennial candidate in local races, picked up qualifying papers.
Former city employee Guy Satterfield also is running.
“That would seem to be no contest at all,” said Dr. Richard Wilson, political science professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
He said it is unprecedented for such a weak field to be lining up against a strong candidate in an open election. Mayor Ron Littlefield is term-limited and can’t seek re-election.
“I’m surprised the community is not putting up an alternative,” Wilson said.
Healy sent out a news release Friday saying he was ending his run and hinting that lack of money was the reason.
News release from Sen. Bob Corker:
WASHINGTON – The office of U.S. Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced today that Rob Strayer will serve as Corker’s legislative director and general counsel.
A 2000 graduate of Vanderbilt Law School, Strayer joins Corker’s staff from the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington where he serves as director of the Homeland Security Project chaired by 9/11 Commission Co-Chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton. The group is tasked with reviewing implementation of the commission’s recommendations and analyzing emerging national security threats.
Strayer is a veteran Senate aide, previously serving from 2006 to 2011 as deputy staff director of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. In that role Strayer oversaw a wide range of issues in the committee’s jurisdiction with an emphasis on improving counterterrorism policy. He also played a key role in a committee investigation from 2005 to 2006 into the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
The Tennessean reports on the race for Senate District 20, where the GOP has carved out section Democrat-dominated Davidson County that both parties say is split fairly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. If Republicans were able to pull off a victory, even the plantation of Andrew Jackson, the father of the modern Democratic Party, would be in their hands — proof of the party’s strength in Tennessee.
…The seat’s current holder, Democratic Sen. Joe Haynes, will retire this fall after 28 years in the legislature. Three Republicans are vying to succeed him: physician Steve Dickerson, executive Rob Mortensen and contractor David Hall. The winner will face one of two Democrats in the fall: attorney Phillip North or professor James Baxter.
…North is favored to secure the Democratic nomination — so much so that party officials assume he’ll win the primary. He entered the race with Haynes’ blessing and has sought out campaign support from the state party.
Baxter, on the other hand, has not contacted party officials about his candidacy or shown many signs, such as a campaign website, of actively seeking the nomination. He did not respond to messages requesting an interview for this story.
“We have not heard a lot from James,” Forrester said. “Technically, we’re neutral.”
The Republican nomination appears to be up for grabs.
Dickerson, who lives in the Whitworth neighborhood off West End Avenue, hopes to build on the name recognition and experience he accumulated in an unsuccessful run for the state Senate two years ago, when he lost by more than 13 percentage points to Henry.
Dickerson looks to be the best financed of the three GOP candidates. He had raised more than $100,000 for his campaign when the first round of financial disclosures was filed in April. He has loaned his campaign another $100,000.
…Dickerson’s opponents in the Republican primary are unlikely to be able to match him in spending, but they have both worked to build competitive organizations.
Mortensen, the chief executive of a child services firm who lives near Lipscomb University, said he is logging as many as 10 appearances a week and has recruited close to 30 volunteers, including former Metro Councilman Buck Dozier, from across the district to campaign on his behalf.
…Hall, a home renovator from Goodlettsville, holds a reputation within the party of being a strong campaigner after a surprise victory in 2010 in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District. Hall upset a field of better-financed candidates mainly by employing his network of family and friends to knock on doors in Republican areas of Nashville, a strategy that he’ll largely repeat this year.