A clergy group that has been in the news lately helped put Weston Wamp over the top in the tight three-way GOP county mayor race in Tuesday's election.
Sources in the black community said they were notified ahead of time that the Chattanooga Clergy for Justice was going to help Mr. Wamp out maneuver political veteran Sabrena Smedley and highly successful businessman Matt Hullander.
As promised, a "text blast" went out at election time.
"Text Blast to Hamilton County Democrats:
"Election Day is today and there is still time to pull a Republican primary ballot to choose the best county mayor option available - Weston Wamp.
"As the Free Press editorial says, "At least until August, there is only one clear and logical choice for county mayor - Weston Wamp.
Where Wamp really shines is in his passion for education, and especially trades education." https://afc.zone/be3
"Ask for a Republican ballot on Tuesday, and mark it for Weston Wamp. You can make a difference."
The text blast targeted church parishioners and key black voter districts.
Traditional Democratic Party voting citizens were told to jump over to the Republican side for this particular race.
Many of them did.
It is calculated that the gambit produced more than the 314 votes Mr. Wamp needed to edge out Ms. Smedley in the final tally.
The Chattanooga Clergy for Justice also - second handedly - got involved in the race which Coty Wamp, the sister of Weston Wamp, was waging against incumbent Neal Pinkston.
The group last week asked DA Pinkston to ask for a U.S. Department of Justice investigation of the condition of inmates at the Silverdale jail operated by the Sheriff's Office as well as a traffic stop of a black man by a white officer in Collegedale.
DA Pinkston, who has been warring with Sheriff Jim Hammond for months, complied with both requests.
That sent Sheriff Hammond into attack mode against the DA and also stirred up Collegedale officials, who said they stand behind the officer. It also sent still more voters into the ranks of Coty Wamp, who wound up walloping the incumbent.
The Concerned Clergy for Justice has no visible leader. Their website gives no names, and their press releases only stress the group itself, not any one individual.
The website, which features a photo with “Defund the Police” and “Prosecute the Police” signs, says, "Our supporters are formed from numerous groups across Chattanooga and surrounding areas in Georgia. We aspire to advocate for those who have been continuously brutalized by the officers charged with protecting them. It is time that law enforcement take accountability for their crimes against the people of Chattanooga."
Asked what the clergy would want from Mr. Wamp in return for delivering the winning vote, it was stated, "They just want equality. They just want justice."