Taylor to seek second shot as mayor
BY KEVIN CANFIELD & ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
2/25/13 at 2:55 PM
Tulsa's mayoral race went from tepid to tantalizing Tuesday with the announcement that former Mayor Kathy Taylor plans to try to reclaim the office she held from 2006 to 2009.
Taylor, 57, chose not to run for re-election after serving one term, citing the need to focus on the operations of the city during the Great Recession instead of on campaigning.
The former Tulsa City Councilor makes his first run for mayor.
"I feel passionately that this is the right place for me to hopefully - if the voters agree - use my talents," Taylor told the Tulsa World on Tuesday.
Taylor, a Democrat, is the second announced candidate for mayor. Former City Councilor Bill Christiansen announced his candidacy last year.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett said Tuesday that he is not yet ready to announce whether he will run for re-election. However, like Taylor and Christiansen, he has filed the initial paperwork required of candidates.
"Rather than focus on politics, my dedication to Tulsa will remain unchanged, and I will focus on moving our city forward," he said.
Bartlett and Christiansen are Republicans.
Taylor's announcement sets in motion a sprint to the Mayor's Office that could end as early as the primary election on June 11.
Under the city's new nonpartisan elections, if more than two candidates file but one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes in the primary election, that candidate is elected.
If more than two candidates file and no one gets more than 50 percent in the primary but two together total more than 50 percent, then those two top vote-getters would advance to the Nov. 12 general election.
Taylor said her candidacy would not be about Bartlett or any other candidate but about her vision for the city.
"The overriding vision for me is making the city a place our kids and grandkids choose to come back to," she said.
Since leaving office, Taylor has served as an education adviser in former Gov. Brad Henry's administration, completed a fellowship at Harvard University, practiced law, and worked with the foundation she and her husband established.
Taylor said she used her time away from City Hall to ponder how she might use her talents and skills to best make an impact in Oklahoma.
"And I became convinced that the Mayor's Office is where that is," she said.
Christiansen described his relationship with Taylor as good and said he welcomes her into the race.
"I look forward to a good public dialogue of the issues that affect the citizens of Tulsa the most," he said.
State Rep. Eric Proctor, who had previously said he would consider running, said Tuesday that he has decided against it so that he can concentrate on fighting a proposed 11 percent rate hike by American Electric Power-Public Service Company of Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission will vote on the hike in April.
"This has not been an easy decision because I strongly believe Tulsa needs a leader who can help our city lead the state in job opportunities, public safety and education," Proctor said in a statement.
Businesswoman Sharon King Davis, another potential candidate, also took herself out of the running Tuesday, telling the Tulsa World that she will instead support Taylor's candidacy.
"She has some unfinished business that she'd like to complete, and I think some of her ideas are good for the city of Tulsa and would bring more excitement to the city," Davis said.
Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission member Bill Leighty said he is still mulling a run and should decide within 30 days.
Taylor said she will formally announce her candidacy in the next month or so.
The filing dates for municipal candidates is April 8-10.
The nonpartisan process
City voters approved a City Charter amendment in 2011 to have nonpartisan races. The item was placed on the ballot through an initiative petition process by the local nonprofit group Save Our Tulsa.
Here's how it works:
If only two candidates file for the post, they automatically advance to the general election.
If more than two candidates file but one candidate gets more than 50 percent of the votes at the primary election, that candidate is elected.
If more than two candidates file and no one gets more than 50 percent in the primary but two together total more than 50 percent, then those two top vote-getters advance to the general election.
If more than two candidates file but no two total more than 50 percent, then the top candidates whose votes total more than 50 percent go to a runoff election. The top two vote-getters in the runoff advance to the general election.
Key election dates
April 8-10: Municipal filing period
June 11: Primary
Aug. 13: Primary runoff (if needed)
Nov. 12: General election
Name: Dewey Bartlett
Political experience: Mayor, city of Tulsa, 2010-present; state Senate candidate, 2004; mayoral candidate, 1992; city councilor, 1990-94. Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Grand River Dam Authority trustee
Name: Bill Christiansen
Political experience: District 8 city councilor, 2002-2011
Name: Kathy Taylor
Political experience: Mayor, city of Tulsa, 2006-2009; education adviser for former Gov. Brad Henry, 2010; secretary of commerce and tourism for Henry's administration, 2003 to 2006.
Original Print Headline: Taylor to seek 2nd go-round as mayor
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313 Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486
Kathy Taylor (left) and Dewey Bartlett: The past and present mayors are expected to be among three candidates who will seek the office in June.