Coulter-Littlefield In Runoff For Chattanooga Mayor

Lively Upset, Rico, Matthews In Runoff, Rutherford, Franklin, Hakeem, Benson Win

Tuesday, March 1, 2005
City Hall runoff situation. Click to enlarge.
City Hall runoff situation. Click to enlarge.
- photo by Wesley Schultz

Political newcomer Ann Coulter had a 1,631-vote plurality in Tuesday's Chattanooga mayor's race, but she was facing a runoff with Councilman Ron Littlefield.

Ms. Coulter, 51, finished at 10,784 votes to 9,153 for Mr. Littlefield, 58. Dan Johnson was third at 4,911.

Ms. Coulter garnered 42.31 percent and Mr. Littlefield finished at 35.91 percent. Businessman Dan Johnson was at 19.27 percent. It takes over 50 percent of the vote to win outright. The Coulter-Littlefield runoff will be April 12.

Chattanooga has never elected a woman mayor. Ms. Coulter is the former head of the Regional Planning Agency and a vice president at the RiverCity Company. Councilman Littlefield is a veteran city officeholder. He attacked Ms. Coulter for her
"power structure" ties.

Ms. Coulter amassed a warchest of $319,000 - three times the Littlefield receipts.

Another female political newcomer - Linda Ward Bennett - had a 68-vote win over veteran John Lively.

Marti Rutherford won a new term to her old seat in District 6, defeating Julie Chamberlain for the post given up by Mr. Littlefield for the mayor's race.

Incumbents Jack Benson in District 4, John "Duke" Franklin in District 5 and Yusuf Hakeem in District 9 coasted to victory.

Manual Rico was the top votegetter in District 7 to replace John Taylor, who did not seek re-election, but he was in a runoff with Debra Matthews, County School Board member. Mr. Rico had 633 to 389 for Ms. Matthews, but he failed to capture 50 percent.

Mr. Rico, who owns Rico Monument in St. Elmo, is vying to be the first Hispanic member of the City Council. He got 39 percent to 24 percent for Ms. Matthews.

Ms. Coulter, celebrating at the Chattanooga Choo Choo, said, "We're really excited. We came into this race hoping to make the runoff, and now we are in a strong leading position.

"I think the voters are responding to our positive message we have for the future of Chattanooga - for taking the city forward and not backwards."

Linda Bennett said extensive campaigning, including door to door canvassing and traffic waving, helped her eak past incumbent Lively. "I really think the residents of District 1 wanted a higher visibility from their council representative," she said.

Ms. Bennett, who has a background in sales and marketing and is currently a Mary Kay representative, said she plans to hold a series of community meetings "to take an inventory of the needs in the district, and not to be just be putting out fires."

Ms. Bennett is a Chattanooga native and Red Bank High School graduate.

Councilman Lively, 66, lives on Garden Road in Lookout Valley, while Ms. Bennett, 51, is from Pine Ridge Road in North Chattanooga. Mr. Lively had been on the council since 1990.

Julie Chamberlain, a realtor and beer board member in her first race, issued this statement, "I want to thank everyone for all their positive support. It has been a great life experience for me and an even better civic lesson for my two boys. I have met some wonderful people out walking the district. I feel good about the job I have done. I feel even better knowing that I am the only candidate for District 6 who actually sleeps in the district every night including last night."

Election officials said the voting went smoothly, and the totals were in just over an hour after the polls closed.

There were 25,998 votes cast - 26.95 percent of the city's 96,472 voters.

The only remaining votes are three provisional ballots, which will not affect any races. Those are questionable ballots in which a later decision is made on whether they are valid.

Mayor

Angela D. Clark 245 0.96%
Ann Coulter 10784 42.31%
Karl D. Epperson 137 0.54%
Eddie "Bubba" Eubank 95 0.37%
R. "Buzzy" Hamilton 48 0.19%
Dan Johnson 4911 19.27%
Ron Littlefield 9153 35.91%
Thomas Smith, II 88 0.35%
Write-in Votes 25 0.10%

City Council, District 1

Linda Bennett 1505 50.71%
John M. Lively 1437 48.42%
Write-in Votes 26 0.88%

City Council, District 4

Jack Benson 2251 70.56%
Robert L. Reid 926 29.03%
Write-in Votes 13 0.41%

City Council, District 5

John "Duke" Franklin 2180 73.52%
Lynn Smith 213 7.18%
Cynthia Stanley-Cash 558 18.82%
Write-in Votes 14 0.47%

City Council, District 6

Julie S. Chamberlain 946 34.28%
Marti Rutherford 1797 65.11%
Write-in Votes 17 0.62%

City Council, District 7

Pete Drew 117 7.27%
Karen M. Lee 296 18.39%
Debra L. Matthews 389 24.16%
Jeff Peterson 171 10.62%
Manuel Rico 633 39.32%
Write-in Votes 4 0.25%

City Council, District 9

Delores C. Carter 191 7.55%
Yusuf A. Hakeem 1362 53.86%
Eziekel "Ez" Jones 143 5.65%
J. T. McDaniel 817 32.31%
Write-in Votes 16 0.63%

Collegdale Commissioner

Jim Ashlock 253 22.45%
Fred W. Fuller 263 23.34%
Harry L. Hodgdon 260 23.07%
Tim Johnson 288 25.55%
Write-in Votes 63 5.59%

* * *

After 65 precincts reported:

Mayor

Angela D. Clark 208 0.88%
Ann Coulter 9939 42.10%
Karl D. Epperson 127 0.54%
Eddie "Bubba" Eubank 78 0.33%
R. "Buzzy" Hamilton 48 0.20%
Dan Johnson 4790 20.29%
Ron Littlefield 8326 35.27%
Thomas Smith, II 74 0.31%
Write-in Votes 19 0.08%

City Council, District 1

Linda Bennett 1505 50.71%
John M. Lively 1437 48.42%
Write-in Votes 26 0.88%

City Council, District 4

Jack Benson 2251 70.56%
Robert L. Reid 926 29.03%
Write-in Votes 13 0.41%

City Council, District 5

John "Duke" Franklin 1727 73.49%
Lynn Smith 161 6.85%
Cynthia Stanley-Cash 448 19.06%
Write-in Votes 14 0.60%

City Council, District 6

Julie S. Chamberlain 946 34.28%
Marti Rutherford 1797 65.11%
Write-in Votes 17 0.62%

City Council, District 7

Pete Drew 92 7.30%
Karen M. Lee 190 15.08%
Debra L. Matthews 257 20.40%
Jeff Peterson 154 12.22%
Manuel Rico 565 44.84%
Write-in Votes 2 0.16%

City Council, District 9

Delores C. Carter 161 8.38%
Yusuf A. Hakeem 1086 56.50%
Eziekel "Ez" Jones 81 4.21%
J. T. McDaniel 581 30.23%
Write-in Votes 13 0.68%

Collegdale Commissioner

Jim Ashlock 253 22.45%
Fred W. Fuller 263 23.34%
Harry L. Hodgdon 260 23.07%
Tim Johnson 288 25.55%
Write-in Votes 63 5.59%

* * *

With 56 precincts reported:

Angela D. Clark 180 0.84%
Ann Coulter 9069 42.10%
Karl D. Epperson 107 0.50%
Eddie "Bubba" Eubank 69 0.32%
R. "Buzzy" Hamilton 41 0.19%
Dan Johnson 4407 20.46%
Ron Littlefield 7589 35.23%
Thomas Smith, II 66 0.31%
Write-in Votes 15 0.07%

With 56 precinct reported:

City Council, District 1

Linda Bennett 1505 50.71%
John M. Lively 1437 48.42%
Write-in Votes 26 0.88%

City Council, District 4

Jack Benson 1896 71.17%
Robert L. Reid 756 28.38%
Write-in Votes 12 0.45%

City Council, District 5

John "Duke" Franklin 1727 73.49%
Lynn Smith 161 6.85%
Cynthia Stanley-Cash 448 19.06%
Write-in Votes 14 0.60%

City Council, District 6

Julie S. Chamberlain 946 34.28%
Marti Rutherford 1797 65.11%
Write-in Votes 17 0.62%

City Council, District 7

Pete Drew 37 5.44%
Karen M. Lee 99 14.56%
Debra L. Matthews 168 24.71%
Jeff Peterson 88 12.94%
Manuel Rico 287 42.21%
Write-in Votes 1 0.15%

City Council, District 9

Delores C. Carter 161 8.38%
Yusuf A. Hakeem 1086 56.50%
Eziekel "Ez" Jones 81 4.21%
J. T. McDaniel 581 30.23%
Write-in Votes 13 0.68%

Collegdale Commissioner

Jim Ashlock 253 22.45%
Fred W. Fuller 263 23.34%
Harry L. Hodgdon 260 23.07%
Tim Johnson 288 25.55%
Write-in Votes 63 5.59%

* * *

With 36 precincts reported, Ann Coulter had 6,595 votes at 43.62 percent compared to Councilman Ron Littlefield at 5,486 at 36.28 percent. Dan Johnson was third with 2,638 votes at 17.45 percent.

Linda Bennett was ahead of veteran District 1 Councilman John Lively with 8 of 14 precincts reporting. She was at 1,014 to 832.

Jack Benson was holding off Robert Reid in District 4 962 to 404, and John "Duke" Franklin was winning handily in District 5.

Marti Rutherford had a comfortable lead in District 6 over Julie Chamberlain.

Manual Rico was winning in District 7 and incumbent Yusuf Hakeem in District 9.

With 36 precincts reporting:

Mayor

Angela D. Clark 160 1.06%
Ann Coulter 6595 43.62%
Karl D. Epperson 82 0.54%
Eddie "Bubba" Eubank 59 0.39%
R. "Buzzy" Hamilton 33 0.22%
Dan Johnson 2638 17.45%
Ron Littlefield 5486 36.28%
Thomas Smith, II 55 0.36%
Write-in Votes 12 0.08%

City Council, District 1
Total
Number of Precincts 14
Precincts Reporting 8 57.1 %
Times Counted 1924/10527 18.3 %
Total Votes 1866

Linda Bennett 1014 54.34%
John M. Lively 832 44.59%
Write-in Votes 20 1.07%

City Council, District 4

Jack Benson 962 70.27%
Robert L. Reid 404 29.51%
Write-in Votes 3 0.22%

City Council, District 5

John "Duke" Franklin 1621 74.05%
Lynn Smith 136 6.21%
Cynthia Stanley-Cash 418 19.10%
Write-in Votes 14 0.64%

City Council, District 6

Julie S. Chamberlain 823 35.25%
Marti Rutherford 1498 64.15%
Write-in Votes 14 0.60%

City Council, District 7

Pete Drew 36 5.48%
Karen M. Lee 99 15.07%
Debra L. Matthews 164 24.96%
Jeff Peterson 82 12.48%
Manuel Rico 275 41.86%
Write-in Votes 1 0.15%

City Council, District 9

Delores C. Carter 153 8.22%
Yusuf A. Hakeem 1050 56.42%
Eziekel "Ez" Jones 79 4.25%
J. T. McDaniel 566 30.41%
Write-in Votes 13 0.70%

Collegdale Commissioner
Total
Number of Precincts 8
Precincts Reporting 6 75.0 %
Times Counted 474/3815 12.4 %
Total Votes 1121

Jim Ashlock 253 22.57%
Fred W. Fuller 262 23.37%
Harry L. Hodgdon 257 22.93%
Tim Johnson 286 25.51%
Write-in Votes 63 5.62%

* * *

Here was the count after early votes and absentee votes were counted.

Ann Coulter had 1,266 votes for 39.29 - ahead of Councilman Ron Littlefield, who had 1,190 votes or 36.93 percent. Dan Johnson was third with 618 votes or 19.8 percent.

Linda Ward Bennett was ahead of veteran Councilman John Lively in District 1 at 176 to 128.

Councilman Jack Benson was ahead 57 to 22 in District 4. John "Duke" Franklin, the incumbent, had a big lead in District 5.

Marti Rutherford, former councilwoman was up 245 to 120 in District 6 over Julie Chamberlain.

Manual Rico had a lead in District 7 to replace John Taylor. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem was ahead in District 98.

Mayor

Angela D. Clark 56 1.74%
Ann Coulter 1266 39.29%
Karl D. Epperson 25 0.78%
Eddie "Bubba" Eubank 25 0.78%
R. "Buzzy" Hamilton 13 0.40%
Dan Johnson 618 19.18%
Ron Littlefield 1190 36.93%
Thomas Smith, II 25 0.78%
Write-in Votes 4 0.12%

City Council, District 1

Linda Bennett 176 56.59%
John M. Lively 128 41.16%
Write-in Votes 7 2.25%

City Council, District 4

Jack Benson 57 71.25%
Robert L. Reid 22 27.50%
Write-in Votes 1 1.25%

City Council, District 5

John "Duke" Franklin 441 70.45%
Lynn Smith 50 7.99%
Cynthia Stanley-Cash 129 20.61%
Write-in Votes 6 0.96%

City Council, District 6

Julie S. Chamberlain 120 32.88%
Marti Rutherford 245 67.12%
Write-in Votes 0 0.00%

City Council, District 7

Pete Drew 20 4.84%
Karen M. Lee 63 15.25%
Debra L. Matthews 91 22.03%
Jeff Peterson 67 16.22%
Manuel Rico 171 41.40%
Write-in Votes 1 0.24%

City Council, District 9

Delores C. Carter 19 7.72%
Yusuf A. Hakeem 151 61.38%
Eziekel "Ez" Jones 9 3.66%
J. T. McDaniel 64 26.02%
Write-in Votes 3 1.22%

Collegdale Commissioner
Total

Jim Ashlock 245 22.69%
Fred W. Fuller 255 23.61%
Harry L. Hodgdon 240 22.22%
Tim Johnson 280 25.93%
Write-in Votes 60 5.56%

Supporter Linda Todd gives an enthusiastic congratulatory hug to Linda Ward Bennett, left, after hearing that Bennett had won an upset victory over District 1 Councilman John Lively. Click to enlarge.
Supporter Linda Todd gives an enthusiastic congratulatory hug to Linda Ward Bennett, left, after hearing that Bennett had won an upset victory over District 1 Councilman John Lively. Click to enlarge.
- Photo2 by Michael Locke

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