25 February 2004
Post-election pundit syndrome
If there's a lesson in yesterday's election, it's this: money doesn't buy seats anymore. Jim Tolbert spent roughly three times as much as any other candidate and pulled less than 30 percent of the vote. And on the other side of the equation, political novice Marcus Hayes spent something like twelve dollars and pulled more than seven percent, finishing above one of the old-pro pols.
More than anything else, I think, this was a contest to see who could rock the boat the least. By general agreement, the MAPS projects have awakened what had been for too long a sleepy city, and no one made any suggestions about screwing around with the process. A little fine-tuning, yes; a firm hand on the finances, certainly; but we're not going to mess with what's working for us. Mayor-elect Mick Cornett should have no problems maintaining continuity during his two-year term, and we wish him well.
Posted at 7:47 AM to City Scene
» OKC Mayor's Race from Dan and Angi Have Something to Say
I'm a disenfranchised Oklahoma Cityan. Even though I work in OKC, shop in OKC (and pay the associated sales taxes) and my fortunes rise and fall with OKC, I live in Edmond. Thus I don't get a vote on MAPS,......[read more]
I love your observations, but this time maybe you haven't looked deep enough into what happened.
A small percentage of registered voters show up to vote in OKC municipal elections. 1 in 4 - and that's *registered voters*. Target those voters who always show up and you have a shot. Something this municipal cycle that has happened (for the first time in many, many years) was the introduction of party politics into our system of non-partisan elections. The Oklahoma Republican Party sunk a bunch of money into phoning frequent voters - who are registered Republican - and informing them (via a recorded message from the state GOP chairman) that Jim Tolbert was beholden to "special interests" and the "liberal elite" and cited his contributions on FEC reports to Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean. Naturally, he didn't tell the voters in the taped message about Republicans that received a check from Jim Tolbert. He was painted as some kind of left-wing loon, which Jim Tolbert is anything but.
Money DID play a role. A very dirty role that injected partisan party politics into our historically non-partisan municipal elections. Mick Cornett claims no involvement in the effort expended by the Republican Party - I have to believe him. But his victory is hollow when considering the methods used by those who chose - for partisan purposes - to tear down a great civic leader in Mr. Jim Tolbert.
Considering how many people showed up to put Kirk Humphreys in office four percent, was it? I'd say 25 is some sort of moral victory.
Inasmuch as the GOP didn't call me or any of my few remaining Republican friends in town, I didn't get to hear the call, but I wouldn't put much past Gary Jones.
And anyway, I voted for Marcus Hayes. Really.