Decision 2013: Chattanoogans to elect new mayor March 5 - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Decision 2013: Chattanoogans to elect new mayor March 5

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- A city election comes with a $130,000 price tag, a bill taxpayers shoulder.

And a local election is a lot of work, for what election officials say will likely be a small turnout.

"Normally there's not a big, big turnout for the city election," says Charlotte Mullis-Morgan, with the Hamilton County Election Commission.

The last time the city held an election, six percent of registered voters cast a ballot in early voting.

Eighteen percent voted on Election Day, choosing a mayor and city council.

Candidates are optimistic this election will be different.

"We've seen an incredible amount of interest in the campaign," mayoral candidate, Andy Berke says. "We have over 300 volunteers, and they've worked over 6,000 hours of volunteer time in the campaign."

Former state senator and attorney Andy Berke is focused on educational opportunities, transparency in government, and most all, crime.

"The crime in our city is unacceptable, and we will change it," Berke says. "Everywhere I go, I hear people talk to me about the drug house down the street, or the business with graffiti on it, or the fear they have for their personal safety. That is absolutely something that we've got to do something about, and we will."

Berke leads the race in funding and support.

"I'm only $672,242.23 behind Mr. Berke," says mayoral candidate, Guy Satterfield.

Guy Satterfield says he isn't intimidated. He's been a city public works employee for 39 years.
He's aiming to increase police funding and cut wasteful spending.

"Everything has to be a study, everything has to be $1.2 million for a company to assist in helping run the Moccasin Bend water treatment plant," Satterfield says. "You've got a staff down there. If they can't run it, you need to find somebody who can."

The third mayoral hopeful, Chester Heathington, expressed in a recent forum his desire to help local veterans find jobs.

Channel 3 attempted several times to reach Chester Heathington for an interview. The contact information he provided election officials is not up-to-date.

It's not just the mayor's seat up for grabs. Nine city council seats are too.

Election officials expect at least one run-off because of the number of candidates in some districts.

The city's charter allows run offs, that's why the election is held after the presidential election.

Election officials say a November election would force a run-off during the Christmas holidays.

Election Day is March 5.

Click here for information from the Hamilton County Election Commission.

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