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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Candidates have already begun to announce their candidacy for Oklahoma City mayor as the February 2022 Mayoral primary election approaches in less than a year. 

Incumbent mayor David Holt is running for re-election to a second term in office. As of now, two candidates have joined the race to challenge Holt in the high-profile primary election. 

The official filing period is not until December and the election for the next Mayor of Oklahoma City is set for February 8, 2022. 

Who’s in the race? (So far) 

Jimmy Lawson

A life-long Oklahoman and political newcomer, Jimmy Lawson officially announced his candidacy for Oklahoma City’s Mayor last month. Lawson is currently the Director of Permitting services at Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation and a finance professor at Rose State College.

He is the founder of the John Marshall Impact Team, a community program partnered with Oklahoma City Public Schools that provides students with mentoring and life skills. 

Lawson said his community involvement in various organizations gave him the opportunity to learn how to deal with different groups of people.

“What allowed me to do this was to know how to manage different communities,” Lawson said in an interview with Free Press. “So I think that experience will allow me to be efficient when it comes to dealing with different kinds of communities.”

 His campaign website lists top priorities as criminal justice reform, education, and economic development. 

One of Lawson’s initiatives as mayor would be to eliminate homelessness in the city by implementing programs that would provide resources to the homeless, an effort already being made by city staff.

Jason Padgett

Political newcomer and businessman Jason Padgett has also announced that he will be challenging Holt to be the next OKC Mayor in February. 

Padgett is the founder and owner of two medical companies, a medical equipment company and a telemedicine marketing company. According to his campaign website, Padgett was a former singer, songwriter, and actor in Hollywood for 13 years. 

According to his campaign, Padgett believes in protecting personal freedoms, defending constitutional rights, and strengthening the economy.

Padgett did not respond to interview requests in time for publication. 

Incumbent David Holt

is running to secure a second term as Mayor of Oklahoma City. In January Holt registered with his campaign committee for re-election. 

According to ethics finance reports, Holt has already raised over $300,000 in campaign contributions during the first quarter of the election cycle. 

Holt’s campaign website lists top priorities for OKC to be maintaining upgrades in core services, improvements to economic growth, improvements to public education, and including diversity in the city’s decision-making. 

In April 2018,  Holt was elected as Oklahoma City’s 36th Mayor with 78.5 percent of the vote. Holt became the youngest Mayor of Oklahoma City since 1923 and the first Native American mayor of Oklahoma City.

Holt’s signature achievement as Mayor is the development and passage of the MAPS 4 initiative, a major public improvement program funded by a penny sales tax. 

The MAPS concept, now in its fourth iteration, is to collect dedicated penny sales tax money before spending on public works and programs and then paying cash for them.

The last of the MAPS 4 public hearings had a packed room and lobby all day until after 5 p.m. August 2019. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)

In the summer of 2019, Holt and the City Council for Oklahoma City held unprecedented public hearings for days where civic organizations and others were allowed to come to City Hall and pitch their ideas for inclusion in MAPS 4.

In December 2019 voters passed MAPS 4 that included 16 projects with 71.7% voting in favor, the largest percentage for a sales tax in the last 50 years.

Holt is a licensed attorney and works for a family-owned investment company in OKC. He earned his B.A. in political science at George Washington University and his J.D. from Oklahoma City University. 

Holt was formerly a member of the Oklahoma State Senate representing District 30 from 2011 to 2018. He has also served on the staff of a U.S. House speaker, a U.S. President, a Lt Governor, and a U.S. Senator. 

Oklahoma holds nonpartisan elections and there are no term limits. The Mayor-elect will be sworn in on the first Tuesday following the receipt of the election results. 

The filing period for the upcoming election is held for three days on December 5, 6, and 7, 2021. 

Last Updated July 17, 2021, 8:32 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor