Two days after Election Day, state Sen. Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga) picked up papers to qualify for the March 5, 2013, mayoral election in Chattanooga. But that move is a mere formality—Berke has been running for six months and gathering plenty of momentum in the press since deciding to step down from his Senate seat this year, which he has held for two terms. If no other “name” candidate steps in, Berke may easily take the mayors office with little more than a perfunctory effort.
Berke will launch his formal campaign during a rally at Bessie Smith Hall on Thursday, Nov. 15, but he has already appeared at several campaign events and you’ll likely begin to see “Berke for Mayor” signs pop up around town. Berke faces only one declared opponent so far—former city transportation director Guy Satterfield—and his name recognition, guy-next-door personality and status as a rising political star may have already assured him a relatively easy path to power.
We like Berke, but can it be this easy? We hope not.