Rep. Mike Carter faces first challenger third time around

Rep. Mike Carter, R-Ooltewah, will face his first-ever opponent during his third election bid for the Tennessee House District 29 seat.

Carter and Ethan White will compete in the Republican primary. The winner takes all, since no Democrat candidate is running in the district, which represents much of eastern Hamilton County.

White, 27, a Collegedale city commissioner and Realtor who claims to be the youngest elected official in the county, ended the the second quarter with $1,139 in his campaign coffers, according state financial filings. He raised $14,502 during the same quarter, including $3,500 of his own money.

“I am running for the District 29 seat to bring fresh and innovative ideas to our community and the state Legislature,” White said when he announced his campaign this spring.

White has called for better workforce development and creating “a more fertile job atmosphere” through “redefining the education system” and by “removing 20th century regulations that hold back entrepreneurs and businesses from innovating and creating jobs.”

In a recent editorial board meeting with the Times Free Press, White challenged Carter’s proposed de-annexation proposal, claiming it would prevent cities from growing. That bill follows Carter’s landmark annexation reform legislation, which requires citizens to vote to approve annexation instead of allowing municipalities to bring in new territory just by passing an ordinance.

Carter, 62, an attorney and former Hamilton County General Sessions Court judge, says giving people a vote whether to be brought into a city is doing only what’s right and fair by the state’s residents.

“We were told it could not be passed,” Carter said in recent phone interview. “It was difficult, but it passed.”

Carter said he also plans to continue the fight to bring broadband services to rural Tennesseans despite the opposition and influence of corporate telecommunication giants such as AT&T and Charter.

In this year’s session he voted to de-fund the University of Tennessee’s Office of Diversity and opposed an attempt to override Gov. Bill Haslam’s veto of legislation naming the Bible as the official state book.

Carter serves as vice-chairman of the Civil Justice Committee and on the Ethics, Finance, and Ways and Means committees.

In addition to four years as a state legislator, Carter cites 18 years of practicing law as part of his overall experience for continuing his role as the District 29 representative.

He also controls way more campaign money than White.

He started the second quarter with $25,290 and raised $49,886, according to his campaign finance report. He spent $19,914 and finished with $55,261.

Carter contributors include Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, outgoing Hamilton County Assessor of Property William Bennett, Chattanooga City Councilman Larry Grohn and Hamilton County Commissioner Sabrena Smedley. He has also received the endorsement of Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

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