November 2012 Voter Guide
Oct. 17 – Nov. 1
Click for list of early voting locations and hours.
Aug. 6 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
Click for list of precinct locations.
During early voting and on Nov. 6, 2012, Hamilton County residents have an opportunity to cast ballots for many races of local, state and federal significance. This voter guide was prepared by Nooga.com and TennesseeTicket.com to better educate area residents about the races and candidates on the ballot.
You qualify to vote in the Nov. 6 election if you were properly registered no later than 30 days before the election. To verify whether you are eligible to vote in the upcoming election, contact the Hamilton County Election Commission. Recent changes to Tennessee law now make it a requirement to present a valid photo ID in order to vote.
If you need to confirm what precinct you live in, your voting location, and which local and state races you are eligible to vote in, please click here and look for the red box labeled “My Voting Information.”
Disclosure: The staff of Nooga.com and TennesseeTicket.com made their best effort to accurately represent all candidates who are included in this voter guide. If you are a candidate whose profile contains inaccurate information, or a candidate whose profile was omitted, please email [email protected].
President Barack Obama took office in January 2009 after defeating Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 election. Obama is seeking re-election, and plenty of other candidates either have a chance at denying his hopes or are also running. The most widely known challenger is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who lost the 2008 Republican Party nomination to McCain but vanquished the field of contenders this time around.
Tennessee Republicans preferred former Sen. Rick Santorum to Romney in March, despite Santorum having no delegates lined up to attend the convention. We had local talent in the race, too: Chattanooga attorney John Wolfe challenged Obama in the Democratic Primary in several states. But that’s all in the past; here are the candidates on Tennessee’s ballot for president and vice president.
Sen. Bob Corker is seeking his first re-election to the post he won six years ago, after a heated race with former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. But unlike his first Senate bid, the former Chattanooga mayor hasn’t been threatened with a daunting challenger from either party and has outraised his entire field of opponents by millions. Still, seven Democrats and four Republicans are attempting to unseat the senator for a host of reasons.
In his first bid for re-election, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann found victory over two well-backed, recognizable Republican challengers. Now, the incumbent will face Dr. Mary Headrick, a physician from Union County and nominee for the Democratic Party. Throughout the campaign, the candidates have offered contrasting views on a variety of issues, from tax reform to health care to securing funding for the Chickamauga Lock. Largely considered a GOP stronghold, redistricting knives reshaped the 3rd District earlier this year to include Monroe, McMinn, Morgan and Scott counties, along with portions of Campbell County and Roane County. An estimated 700,000 Tennesseans live in the district. Fleischmann and Headrick met to offer their views from a public stage only once, at a forum in Bradley County.
In his first attempt for re-election, freshman Rep. Scott DesJarlais faces an aggressive challenger in state Sen. Eric Stewart, the Democratic nominee. What could have been described as a sleepy race was blown wide open in early October after allegations stemming from the congressman’s past divorce were raised. Since reports that DesJarlais slept with one of his former patients and encouraged her to terminate a pregnancy, Stewart and the Democratic Party have put the congressman directly in their sights, attempting to disqualify the Republican doctor from a second term in Congress. The 4th District, which stretches all the way to Rutherford and Maury counties, was reshaped to include Murfreesboro along with portions of Bradley County, including Cleveland. DesJarlais and Stewart have yet to meet in a debate or forum setting, despite Stewart’s repeated calls.
Due to decennial redistricting, District 10 has changed from a district that favored Democratic Party candidates to one which ostensibly now leans towards the GOP. The district borders, which had included part of Hamilton and all of Marion County, now stretch eastward into Bradley County, scooping up areas of eastern Hamilton County that are Republican strongholds.
Sen. Andy Berke decided not to run for reelection, leaving an open seat with no sitting state legislator poised to move into it.
Chattanooga City Councilman Andraé McGary won the Democratic Party primary in August, beating Quenston Coleman and Hamilton County Board of Education member David Testerman.
Republican activist Todd Gardenhire narrowly defeated businessman Greg Vital in a Republican primary contest that seemed like Vital’s to lose until a sharp turnaround in the final weeks of the campaign.
District 26 covers the central part of Hamilton County, including the communities of Harrison, Hixson, Lakesite and Middle Valley, along with a spur into Chattanooga’s North Shore and downtown areas.
The Democratic Party nominee relocated out of state for work reasons.
District 27 is located along Hamilton County’s western border and includes the communities of Fairmount, Falling Water, Flat Top, Lookout Mountain, Lookout Valley, Mowbray, Red Bank, Signal Mountain, Soddy-Daisy and Walden.
District 28 is centered on the urban core of Chattanooga and includes the communities of Bushtown, Eastdale, Highland Park, Highway 58, North Brainerd, Southside, Piney Woods and Woodmore.
The new District 29 bears almost no resemblance to its former map area-though the carry-over of a couple of Brainerd precincts made for a confusing summer for some voters-and now includes Birchwood, parts of Collegedale and East Brainerd, Georgetown, Ooltewah and Sale Creek.
Only one candidate qualified to run in the election to this new, open seat.
District 30 hugs the Georgia state line in Hamilton County’s southeast corner and includes Apison, East Lake and East Ridge, along with parts of Brainerd, Collegedale and East Brainerd.
Chattanooga citizens enacted provisions in the City Charter that describe the process by which elected officials may be subjected to a recall vote.
Citizen efforts to exercise these provisions during Mayor Ron Littlefield’s two terms in office have failed, and a contributing factor has been confusion over the exact formula that should be used to verify a successful petition drive.
Tennessee state law also contains provisions to recall municipal officials, and these use a different tabulation for determining that the petition threshold has been met. In most situations, the charter’s method would require fewer total signatures than state law would.
The Chattanooga City Council has placed a proposed amendment on the ballot that, if voters approve, would cause the charter to adopt the state law provision that a recall petition must be signed by 15 percent of registered voters in the jurisdiction. This would remove the current basis of 50 percent of the votes cast in the most recent election.
The amendment also states that if an official is removed, his or her successor will serve on an interim basis for the unexpired remainder of the term.
If the referendum fails, it would remain possible to derive multiple interpretations of the differing recall statutes’ petition requirements.
The amendment does not address additional inconsistencies the charter has with state recall laws, such as the number and nature of elections needed to force an incumbent’s ouster and the timetable to be used for setting election-related dates.