Two Tulsa school board seats are headed to a runoff vote after Tuesday’s elections.
The three candidates for the Tulsa School Board District 6 seat finished separated by only 66 votes, with University of Oklahoma professor Jerry Griffin holding a narrow lead with 36.85%. Ruth Ann Fate, who was first elected to the board in 1996, trailed Griffin with 32.75% and will face him in the April 7 runoff.
Fate finished only 24 votes ahead of challenger Stephen Remington, who is eliminated from contention for the seat. Fate said it’s “disappointing” not to receive enough votes to avoid a runoff but that her campaign will consider a new strategy ahead of a second vote.
Griffin said he isn’t surprised that the election is headed to a runoff, but he said he’s thrilled to be in the lead.
“I think it was important to get the most votes,” Griffin said. “It gives you a little momentum, kind of like the last touchdown in a football game. I’m excited that I’m there.”
Former Edison High School teacher John Croisant finished first among five candidates in District 5 with 43.82% of the vote. He’ll face businessman Shane Saunders in a runoff election after Saunders finished with 26%.
Croisant said he attributes his win to hard work and outreach by those involved with his campaign. He said he looks forward to the runoff and that his strategy remains “keep knocking on doors.”
“We knocked on over 1,000 doors,” Croisant said. “We had a lot of volunteers and a lot of help from teachers, different people across the city. … It was really amazing to see the support we got as we got out in the neighborhoods and talked to people.”
Saunders, president of Trident Energy Inc., said he expected a runoff and specifically a runoff against Croisant. Although he said he’s thrilled to be moving on, Saunders acknowledged that there’s ground to make up.
“I’m excited about continuing to fight for our kids at Tulsa Public Schools, and I’m really looking forward to April 7,” Saunders said. “We’ve got some work ahead of us, and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to it.”
Outside Tulsa, Tristy Fryer won with 89% of the vote in the Bixby School Board District 5 election.
Both Jenks propositions 1 and 2 passed with more than 80% of the vote.
In Owasso, school board President Frosty Turpen, who also represents Ward 5, retained his seat with 65.49%. Both Owasso bond propositions also passed with more than 75%.