Campaigns begin as filing ends

Bring out the long knives; it is now officially a politically active campaign season in Tulsa.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett, former-Mayor Kathy Taylor, former-City Councilor Bill Christiansen, perennial candidate Lawrence Kirkpatrick and political newcomer Jerry DeWayne Branch will all compete for a term as Mayor of the City of Tulsa in the first nonpartisan election of our history.

Under the new system, if one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes in the June 11 primary election, that candidate is elected.  If not, the top two vote-getters advance to the Nov. 12 general election, unless those candidates do not reach a combined majority of the vote in the primary.  In that case, a runoff would be held Aug. 13.

Regardless, a mayor will not be sworn in until December.  Sounds odd, but the people voted to approve the City Charter change to nonpartisan which most local media supported.  The change has already proven to be a joke if not a designed stupidity.  More on party stunts, partisan campaign workers, candidates who selectively manipulate media and other stories on Tulsa Today in coming weeks.

Amazingly, no one filed to challenge City Councilors Jeannie Cue, Karen Gilbert and Phil Lakin, who will each serve one-year terms.  Just a few short years ago, Tulsa was holding recall elections targeting councilors.  In the next few weeks, Tulsa Today will be interviewing these and the other councilors to discover in each district – what is the difference throughout the city as citywide races heat up.

Three candidates filed for the city’s auditor’s race: Incumbent Clift Richards and challengers Josh Lewis and Cathy Criswell.  In this most usually ignored contest; efficiency and activism or the lack thereof, could become an issue this year.

In the lone County race, District 3 Republican Fred Perry announced his retirement earlier this year effective July 8.  This is a special election to fill the term ending Dec. 31, 2014.

Five Republicans will fight for the right to represent the district; Republicans Don Crall, Brandon Perkins, Ron Peters, Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, and John Wright on June 11.

The lone Democrat in the overwhelmingly Republican District, John Bomar, will face the winner in the general election August 13.

Tulsa Today will cover all races and interview all candidates.  Stay tuned, this could be fun.