published Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Andy Berke running for Chattanooga mayor

by Cliff Hightower

Would you support Andy Berke for mayor of Chattanooga?

State Sen. Andy Berke will announce he is running for Chattanooga mayor on Tuesday, a source close to the campaign said.

Berke, an attorney and Democrat, will have an announcement about "Chattanooga's future" at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.

He be-comes the first of several potential candidates to take official steps to get into the race.

Other names floated for the city's top job include City Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd; Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey; Roger Tuder, executive director of Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee; Todd Womack, U.S. Sen. Bob Corker's chief of staff; Citizens to Recall Mayor Littlefield leader Jim Folkner; longtime city employee Guy Satterfield; and former mayoral candidate Rob Healy.

Under law, Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield cannot run for a third term.

Berke will step down from his state Senate seat at the end of the year. He announced that he will not run for re-election after the GOP-controlled Tennessee General Assembly redrew the District 10 boundaries earlier this year and included heavily Republican Bradley County while dropping primarily Democratic Marion County.

Berke began his political career in a special election in 2007 to replace former state Sen. Ward Crutchfield, who was convicted of bribery as part of the Tennessee Waltz law enforcement operation. Berke won the race and re-election the next year against Republican Oscar Brock.

The city election will be in March 2013.

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