It may be three years away, but candidates are lining up for the 2022 county mayor race with Jim Coppinger possibly retiring.
County Mayor Coppinger said his focus is on continued progress during the current four-year term. Political observers believe he tipped his hat on this being his final term by coming out for a school tax that is unpopular in some circles and lost out on the County Commission.
Current Commission Chairman Sabrena Smedley is building support, while state Rep. Robin Smith, a former state Republican Party chairman, is mentioned as a contender.
Other possibilities on the ballot from the commission include Tim Boyd and Chester Bankston.
Joe Graham, who lost his commission seat in the last election, is anxious to get back into politics.
If Robin Smith lands the county mayor position, District 3 County Commissioner Greg Martin would be expected to seek her House seat.
Mr. Coppinger, a former city fire chief and County Commission member from Hixson, became county mayor in 2011 after Claude Ramsey left the post in mid-term to become deputy governor. There was a protracted struggle between himself and former Judge Mike Carter for the post. Mike Carter has gone on to serve in the state House and is not expected to be a county mayor candidate.
County Mayor Coppinger said, "We were just sworn into office less than a year ago and we intend to continue to focus on the day to day responsibilities of the job.
"To make any decision this far in advance of the election about my intentions would be premature.
"My intent is to continue to serve this county for as long as we can generate economic development and create jobs as we have done over the past eight years. These efforts have resulted in a $3.5 billion investment in Hamilton County creating over 17,000 jobs, 113 business expansions and 54 new companies.
"I am committed to continue trying to impact public education for our students in public schools by enhancing salaries for teachers and improving classroom resources for all of our 44,000 public school students.”