Possible candidates for mayor consider options
BY BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
Sunday, November 11, 2012
2/25/13 at 3:18 PM
Read more coverage of Tulsa’s City Hall.
Many potential Tulsa mayoral candidates said they will make a decision whether to compete in the 2013 race by the start of the year.
So far, former City Councilor Bill Christiansen is the only candidate who has announced and started campaigning for next year's race.
On the sidelines are Mayor Dewey Bartlett, former Mayor Kathy Taylor, state Rep. Eric Proctor, Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission member Bill Leighty and businesswoman Sharon King Davis, who all told the Tulsa World they are mulling over their options.
It will be Tulsa's first nonpartisan mayoral election since voters approved a charter amendment making the switch last year.
The general election for mayor isn't until November 2013, but the candidate filing period will be in April, followed by a primary election in June and a possible runoff election in August.
All candidates will compete in the primary. If two candidates emerge with a majority of the votes, they will advance to the general election. But if it takes three candidates to capture a majority, they will compete in a runoff.
Bartlett said he's assuming he will try for a second term.
"I certainly feel one of the nice things about Oklahoma City, for example, is that they have had a real consistency of leadership," he said. "I think that's something we need to strongly consider. Changing leadership constantly is not good for the long-term planning of a city."
But he hasn't decided when he'll have a formal campaign kickoff.
"It could be the start of the year, but it could be filing day," he said. "I don't really know. I want to get past the holidays. Nobody wants to talk about a political race between Thanksgiving and Christmas."
Bartlett said he's not worried about the impact his support of the failed Vision2 tax package could have on his re-election chances.
"Sometimes things don't work out," he said. "But we are still running the city in a very positive, aggressive and visionary way."
Taylor was elected mayor in 2006 but opted not to seek re-election in 2009 so she could focus on the city's budget crisis. Her exit prompted Bartlett to seek the post.
Taylor, an attorney, said she's eager to get involved again in public service. "Whether that's on an elected basis or a volunteer basis, I really don't know," she said. "I'm just looking at what options are there and what would be the best fit for me and my family to be able to make a difference."
By the time 2013 rolls in, Taylor said, she wants to make a decision.
"I'm definitely restless and want to do something," she said. "But there are a lot of opportunities in nonprofits and other things as well."
Davis attended the Women's Campaign School at Yale University last summer to help her decide whether she wants to run for mayor.
Davis is a partner in the King family businesses, commercial real estate such as KingsPointe Village and Kings Landing, and various oil and gas ventures.
Leighty, a member of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission and the city's Transportation Advisory Board, as well as a real estate agent, said he is leaning toward running.
"I love my city and am not happy with the direction it has been going," he said, noting that he has been an outspoken critic of Bartlett's lack of implementing the PlaniTulsa comprehensive plan.
"Yes, I would suffer from the lack of name recognition. Yes, I don't have any personal funds to commit to this campaign. I am not part of the good ol' boy network," he said.
"But the one thing I hear when I'm out traveling around is that people are tired of the same people running for office."
State Rep. Eric Proctor said he, too, is considering a campaign.
"We will be spending a lot of time and prayer on making this decision," he said."My big quandary is that I like Dewey. I think he's a good man. But I think the city could be moving in a stronger, better direction."
Proctor was an economics, government and history teacher before he became a legislator in 2006.
Lucky Lamons, a former legislator who is now the executive director of the Foundation for Tulsa Schools, had previously expressed an interest in running for mayor but has decided against it - for now.
"I just believe right now I'm where I'm supposed to be," he said.
If he did run, Lamons would have to move back into Tulsa's city limits. He lives in Sand Springs.
Council Chairman G.T. Bynum also said he's not going to run. Others who told the Tulsa World they are not interested in the mayor's post are state Sen. Tom Adelson, Councilor Blake Ewing and former state House Speaker Chris Benge.
Meanwhile, Christiansen, as the only announced candidate, has been on a "listening and learning" tour.
"I feel really good about my progress," he said. "I wanted to take a grass-roots approach to this, and it's been very satisfying to meet with people from all over the city and listen to their concerns."
Christiansen said he will campaign at least two to three full days a week starting in January, when he expects to have more competition.
About the mayor's race
The race is nonpartisan. Voters approved a charter amendment last year, eliminating parties from the ballot. All candidates compete in the primary election.
If one candidate receives a majority of the votes in the primary, that candidate will be mayor. If two candidates receive the majority of the votes, they advance to the general election in November. If it takes three or more candidates to reach a majority of the votes, those candidates will compete in an August runoff election.
Filing period: April 8-10
June 11: Primary election
Aug. 13: Runoff election
Nov. 12: General election
Original Print Headline: Possible mayoral candidates weigh options
Brian Barber 918-581-8322