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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — Early voting is now over and the last time you will have to vote for one of the four candidates in the general election for mayor of the City of Oklahoma City will be Tuesday, February 8.

The fastest way to find out if you are eligible to vote, learn your assigned polling place, and see a sample of the ballot you will see on Election Day, use the online OK Voter Portal provided by the State of Oklahoma Election Board.

The election is nonpartisan.

The candidate who receives the most votes over 50% wins. If no candidate gets 50%, the first and second place candidates will meet in a runoff election April 5.

Candidates

All four candidates were encouraged to participate in the only debate held for the candidates for mayor of Oklahoma City. The three challengers participated, but Mayor Holt did not participate. Free Press was one of the partners in planning the debate.

Oklahoma City is a council-manager or “weak mayor” form of city government where the city manager — and not the mayor — runs the day-to-day operations of the city, including hiring and firing.

The most significant direct power the mayor has is appointing members of the many commissions and committees of city government.

The mayor is elected at-large, sits as the chair of the City Council, and has one vote equal to the other city council members.

The mayor and city council members are not paid a full-time income and generally make their living from businesses and employment other than service to the City of Oklahoma City. The mayor’s annual salary is $24,000 and each council member’s annual salary is $12,000.

David Holt – incumbent

covid-19
Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt declares an emergency because of the spread of COVID 3-15-20. (Brett Dickerson/Okla City Free Press)
  • Attorney and works for Hall Capital, a family-owned investment company based in Oklahoma City.
  • Sworn into office as Oklahoma City’s 36th mayor April 10, 2018, after winning with 78.5% of the vote.
  • Ran in 2018 saying that he was “running for Mayor of all of Oklahoma City, not just mayor of downtown.”
  • 2021 Platform:
    • Maintaining upgrades in core services, including streets, transit, infrastructure, police and fire protection.
    • Continuing our improvements in quality of life and our commitment to economic growth through MAPS & other initiatives.
    • Supporting and improving public education.
    • Incorporating the diversity of our city into decision-making.
  • Experience in government: Holt has an extensive background in government service explained HERE. Before becoming mayor he served two terms in the Oklahoma Senate.
  • Achievements: Passage of the MAPS 4 package with largest percentage of approval in half-century of sales tax votes with 71.71% in favor. The City Council and mayor spent days holding public hearings from public service groups and others who presented ideas for inclusion in the MAPS 4 package. It was the first time for any such process in any of the four MAPS initiatives.
  • Campaign money: Has outraised all the other candidates by a large margin.
  • Endorsements:
    • Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 123 representing City of Oklahoma City police officers.
    • OKC Fire Fighters, IAFF Local 157 representing City of Oklahoma City firefighters.
    • 19 other organizations
    • More than 2,000 individual endorsements
  • Born and raised in Oklahoma City.

Carol Hefner

Carol Hefner
Carol Hefner during the Oklahoma City mayoral debate Jan. 25, 2022 (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)
  • Businesswoman and wealthy heiress who is vice present of her family-owned real estate development firm
  • Political activist who was the
    • co-chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign in Oklahoma,
    • former Fundraising Chairman for the Oklahoma Republican Party,
    • inaugural coordinator for Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt in 2019
  • “Lifelong citizen of Oklahoma City”
  • Said, “I’m not a politician. I’ve never done this before.” In fact, she ran for Oklahoma State Senate in 2011 and lost.
  • Has given no specific policy proposals except a suggestion that the MAPS 4 projects “should be audited” and opposes the Oklahoma City Streetcar.
  • Said in the debate that she spoke to 92 people experiencing homelessness, and 89 were from California. Hefner asserted that someone or entity in California was “bussing” the homeless to Oklahoma and creating a strain here. According to the Homeless Alliance that regularly works with that population, about 75% of those experiencing homelessness are from Oklahoma.
  • In several video ads, Hefner has contended that Oklahoma City’s crime rate is increasing at the same rate as Chicago. In fact, Oklahoma City’s homicide count for 2021 was 91 and Chicago’s was almost 800.
  • Claims in her ads and a text message campaign that there is “1 murder every four days” in Oklahoma City. Since the beginning of the year, Oklahoma City has had six homicides in 37 days, and not all of those were classified as murders. The overall crime rate over the last three years has shown a downturn.
  • While answering a question about a divisive comment Hefner made about President Barack Obama during his presidency, she made even more controversial statements about Muslims and said that Muslim culture should be “eradicated.” The Council on American Islamic Relations in Oklahoma (CAIR-OK) responded strongly against the statements.
  • Opposed Mayor Holt’s mask mandates issued during the early months of the pandemic and in August argued against a mask mandate ordinance to the City Council which did not pass the measure.
  • Criticized Mayor Holt for efforts to dialogue with Black Lives Matter during the 2020 protests.
  • The Oklahoma County GOP has endorsed Hefner.

Jimmy Lawson

Jimmy Lawson
Jimmy Lawson, candidate for Mayor of Oklahoma City makes a point during the only debate in the contest. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)
  • Professor in finance and economics at Rose State College.
  • Director of Permitting Services at the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission. 
  • In the debate, Lawson proposed that the City focus even more effort on addressing homelessness by establishing a “transitional center” that would provide a broad spectrum of mental health and other social services.
  • Works with his church’s outreach ministry to those who are experiencing homelessness.
  • Advocated for Julius Jones to be spared from the death penalty.
  • Advocates for developing robust youth programs within the four youth centers planned under MAPS 4.

Frank Urbanic

Frank Urbanic
Frank Urbanic, candidate for Mayor of Oklahoma City answers a question during the only debate for the contest. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)
  • Attorney in private practice who gained public notoriety when he represented bar owners in the Oklahoma City limits who filed suit to stop certain mandates during the first round of COViD to control the disease.
  • Combat veteran of four deployments to the Middle East and Lt. Colonel in the Air Force reserves.
  • During the debate he proposed that the City Council is not obligated to continue with the projects that they developed from days of hearings and that passed in a resolution that was a pledge to Oklahoma City residents.
  • Proposes ending the Oklahoma City Streetcar as a failed project.
  • Said in the debate, “I have a proven track record of combating out-of-control government.”

Last Updated February 7, 2022, 6:40 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor