One week after saying he was "seriously reconsidering" forming another bid for Chattanooga City Council, Andraé McGary has made up his mind.
The councilman will make an announcement regarding his "future plans" in the lobby of the Chattanooga City Council Building today at 3 p.m.
Although McGary would not confirm Wednesday if he was indeed planning to make another bid for the District 8 seat, the councilman did offer several comments indicating he had become more open to the idea of continuing in his role for another four years after receiving feedback from district residents encouraging him to reconsider.
"I have been approached by individuals, and I said to them that since you think enough of me as your councilperson to ask me to reconsider, I certainly think enough of you to take your request seriously," McGary said. "So I've been doing just that. I've been talking to individuals in the community, having long and detailed discussions about the future of our city, and ensuring for the entire district the realization that this is a conversation. And I believe that based on that conversation, I'll make an announcement tomorrow."
If McGary announces he'll seek another term, his decision will go against comments made by the councilman and former radio talk show host upon forming his recent, unsuccessful bid for Tennessee state Senate District 10.
Announcing his bid last March, McGary said he would not seek a second term on the city's legislative body, win or lose. He wound up losing the election to Republican Todd Gardenhire by a margin of roughly 6,000 votes.
McGary said Wednesday that his decision against saying he'd run for council nine months ago was driven by a desire to open the field for potential candidates in District 8, who might not otherwise challenge an incumbent.
"At the time, I really felt that it was in the district's best interests to ensure that as many individuals as possible step up and have an opportunity to run for this seat," he said. "One of the biggest discouragements in doing so is when you have an incumbent. So really, the desire was to make sure that the district was going to be represented and that people would step up."
So far, only one person has stepped forward to replace McGary. Moses Freeman, a 74-year old former city administrator and longtime volunteer in communities surrounding District 8, announced a bid for the seat in August.
On Wednesday, Freeman issued a statement saying his campaign had begun to hear "rumblings" of another candidate entering the race. Though Freeman did not mention McGary by name, he suggested a key message of his campaign would be advocating for change after a four-year McGary term.
"After four years of frustration, I made the decision to run for the City Council," Freeman said. "Now, after months of campaigning, we are beginning to hear rumblings of competition in the race for City Council. I did not make the decision to run for this office because my first choice of service did not work out or I just needed a job—I chose to run because I think I can represent this district better than it has been represented recently."
McGary also indicated Wednesday that he, along with community members who approached him, had been considering a campaign against Freeman.
"Unfortunately, there's only been one [candidate] so far, and that's been the reason that individuals have approached me," McGary said. "I didn't wake up one day and decide to say that I was going to run for my seat. Individuals began begging and imploring me—'Please, Andraé, reconsider. We do not believe the individual signed up is the best one to represent us.'"
Municipal elections are March 5.
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