Chattanooga Mayor Berke Re-Elected to Second Term

Mar 8, 2017

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke speaks to supporters at the Revelry Room after being re-elected.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke finished far ahead of the three challengers who sought to unseat him on March 7.  

Of the 18,968 ballots counted, approximately 63% went to Berke; City Councilman Larry Grohn got 26%; former City Councilman David Crockett got about 8%; and architectural consultant Chris Long got less than 3%.

"Tonight," Mayor Berke said in front of a crowd of supporters at the Revelry Room, "we celebrate a victory not because it was easy, but because it was hard."

Larry Grohn didn't seek re-election to the City Council. Grohn's District 4 seat went to newcomer Darrin Ledford.

Anthony Byrd ousted incumbent Moses Freeman in District 8.

Councilman Chris Anderson and Councilman Yusuf Hakeem both failed to get more than 50% of the vote in their districts. Anderson will face Erskine Oglesby in a runoff election, and Hakeem will face Demetrus Coonrod.

View complete results here.

TRANSCRIPT

A couple of new faces are coming to the Chattanooga City Council, but Andy Berke will stay on for a second term as Mayor.

Voters cast their ballots Tuesday. Newcomer Anthony Byrd beat incumbent Moses Freeman in District 8. Another newcomer, Darrin Ledford, ran unopposed in District 4—that’s the district Larry Grohn used to represent. Grohn decided to not seek re-election to the council, instead running for mayor.

GROHN: Well, of course I’m disappointed with the results.

That’s Grohn speaking outside of Puckett’s restaurant downtown, where he and supporters had gathered after the polls closed.

He says his team held true to their values. One key issue for him… creating more affordable housing.

GROHN: That’s always been how I felt we were going to solve a lot of the crime issues, a lot of the poverty issues, a lot of the unemployment issues. But the people decided that they feel Mayor Berke is going to be the one who has the best ideas on how to approach this, so we bow to their wisdom, in terms of their vote.

Berke got about 64-percent of the vote, far ahead of Grohn and the other two mayoral candidates, David Crockett and Chris Long.

AMBIENCE: CROWD AT REVELRY ROOM

Supporters of Mayor Berke crowded into the Revelry Room. The Mayor stepped onstage with his wife and two daughters, and thanked them, as well as his campaign volunteers.

BERKE: Tonight, we celebrate a victory not because it was easy, but because it was hard.

He said he’s gone to residents’ doorsteps and had thousands of conversations.

BERKE: It’s a special privilege to listen to all of you and to work hard to translate your hopes and dreams into action. It’s why we’re building a new park at Alton Park, reimagining Miller Park, and building a new community center in Avondale.

He also touted the city’s Family Justice Center, his administration’s initiative to end homelessness among veterans, and the innovation district downtown.

BERKE: So we had a City Council election tonight as well. And I congratulate Councilwoman Carol Berz, Councilman Jerry Mitchell, Ken Smith, and Chip Henderson on their victories. We even have one of our City Council people tonight who won, Russell Gilbert.

CROWD APPLAUDS

GILBERT: I’m thinking of going to bed, getting some sleep, waking up, going fishing hopefully.

That’s Russell Gilbert, talking about his post-campaign plans. Also…

GILBERT: Trying to do more infrastructure in my district. Trying for more economic development in my district, we’re working on it already now. And just making a better district.

But for some candidates, Tuesday was not the end of the campaign trail. To win, a candidate had to get more than 50-percent of the vote. Two incumbents – Yusuf Hakeem and Chris Anderson – failed to meet that mark, so each will face challengers in upcoming runoff elections.

Anderson said he feels good about going into the runoff over the next five weeks.

ANDERSON: We got the most votes in District 7 despite the fact that there were three qualified, hard-working candidates with professional campaigns, and I think that’s a testament to the work that I’ve done over the last four years. You know, we’ve got a million-dollar park in Alton Park and an $800,000 park renovation in East Lake. I think those kind of park activities, that benefit the quality of life in a community, that’s the biggest investment we’ve made in District 7.

For WUTC, I'm Michael Edward Miller.