A candidate for Chattanooga mayor must have lived the city for a year prior to the qualifying date for the election not the date of the election itself, states an opinion from Tennessee Elections Coordinator Brook Thompson.
“Any candidate aggrieved by this interpretation may seek a declaratory judgment from a court, and the election commission will follow the order of that court,” Mr. Thompson wrote in the opinion.
On Monday, the Hamilton County Election Commission took no action on the question of whether former city Parks and Recreation Director Rob Healy, who said he moved to Chattanooga in February, is qualified to run for mayor. Mr. Healy would face off against Mayor Ron Littlefield, who fired him in March 2006.
Mr. Healy has said he was going by language that stated a candidate must live in the city a year before the election. But Mr. Thompson pointed out that the City Charter states: “The residency and age requirements must be met at the time (s)he qualifies to run for office.”
The mayoral election is in March. Candidates must pick up qualifying documents by Sept. 19 and turn them in by Dec. 18, according to the Hamilton County Election Commission.
For full details, see tomorrow’s Chattanooga Times Free Press.