City councilman threatens lawsuit if runoff isn't held - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City councilman threatens lawsuit if runoff isn't held

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- City elections are nearly two weeks behind us, but the race for Chattanooga City Council's District 9 seat may be headed for another battle.

Peter Murphy, who lost his bid for re-election, says he will sue if the election commission doesn't hold a runoff.

"We're asking them to conduct the runoff in accordance with the charter and the law," says Murphy.

Peter Murphy is demanding a runoff.

"The official results show that no candidate got 50 percent of the vote or greater," says Murphy.

The Hamilton County Election Commission granted Yusuf Hakeem the win over Murphy last week, ruling the seven write-in votes cast were not official,
because the candidates were not registered.

Hakeem beat Murphy by just six votes.

Murphy says all votes should count.

"There were 211 write-in votes in the city election," Murphy says. "There were 67 for the office of mayor. There were 57 in District 6. There were 50 in District 5. None of those ballots were examined."

If the commission won't comply with his request, Murphy says, "I have several voters who have already expressed interest in suing."

A handful of those constituents were present Monday for Murphy's announcement.

"He has done wonders for our district," Olin Ivey says. "He has done wonders for the whole city."

"My hope is there will be a runoff," adds Ivey.

But commissioners don't seem to be budging.

Chairman Michael Walden told Channel 3 in a phone interview that the commission interpreted the law the best it could.

"The election commission has already discussed this at length," Walden says. "We named Yusuf Hakeem the winner. I'm not sure what Mr. Murphy's issue is, but if he wants to file a lawsuit he's able. If a judge wants to reverse our decision, that's okay too."

Channel 3 reached out to Yusuf Hakeem for a response to Murphy's demands.

He chose not to comment.

Murphy says he will give the election commission until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday to agree to a runoff, or he plans to move forward with filing a lawsuit.

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