Adelson in, Christiansen out, Medlock maybe; Council races shape up

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Democratic State Sen. Tom Adelson announced on Wednesday his anticipated candidacy for Mayor of Tulsa. Reports of the announcement hint that many of Mayor Kathy Taylor's Democratic supporters during the 2006 primary were in attendance in support of Adelson. It will be interesting to see if Democrats who supported Don McCorkell and Democrats who belong to Just Progress will get on board with Adelson or if another candidate will emerge.

On Thursday, Republican City Councilor Bill Christiansen announced that he would not run for Mayor, but would instead seek a fifth term on the City Council. The announcement comes just a few days after an extensive phone survey, apparently on Christiansen's behalf, testing voter response to a number of "push-poll" messages about Christiansen. It seems reasonable to speculate that the results didn't look promising for a Christiansen victory in the Republican primary. The timing of the announcement would be about right: Assuming the poll that likely ran on Sunday and Monday evenings, the consultant would have had raw results early Tuesday and analysis ready for review by Wednesday.

Another factor may have been rumors that Republican former City Councilor and 2006 mayoral candidate Chris Medlock will run. Medlock was one of the names on the aforementioned survey. The electoral math of a three-way primary (with no runoff) between Dewey Bartlett, Jr., Christiansen, and Medlock might have created a vote split that would have worked in Medlock's favor. Christiansen may have been encouraged to step aside by special interest groups that have opposed Medlock in the past. As a radio talk show host, Medlock wasn't expected to run for anything, but that gig ended earlier this year as a result of Journal Broadcast Group cutbacks.

It's not known how Christiansen's change of direction will affect the candidates that were already lining up to succeed him. I wouldn't expect Phil Lakin to challenge an incumbent, particularly one that voted for the assessment district which is financing the ballpark that is being built by a company that Lakin heads. Christiansen could be vulnerable to a challenge, particularly if his Republican constituents would prefer a councilor more like John Eagleton, Bill Martinson, or Rick Westcott on fiscal issues. Will either of the two announced District 8 candidates, Bryan Osborne or Paul Wizikowski, stay in? Stay tuned.

With Christiansen's about-face, it now appears that all nine city councilors will seek re-election. That's never happened before. Jack Henderson (D-District 1), Rick Westcott (R-District 2), Bill Martinson (R-District 5), John Eagleton (R-District 7), and G. T. Bynum (R-District 9) have all either announced or are expected to announce, and none of them have drawn an opponent.

Districts 3, 4, and 6 are shaping up as rematches between current incumbents and the former incumbents they beat: David Patrick vs. Roscoe Turner in 3, Eric Gomez vs. Maria Barnes in 4, and Dennis Troyer vs. Jim Mautino in 6. Rocky Frisco is challenging Gomez in the District 4 Republican primary. A few other candidates had expressed interest in the District 6 Republican nomination prior to Mautino's announcement that he would run; so far (as far as I am aware) no other candidate has officially announced.

MORE:

Steven Roemerman has put together a very useful Tulsa City Council relational database in Microsoft Access -- every councilor since its inception in 1990, including the exact dates of the terms they served. It's a must-have for all of us politically-minded nerds. The database was inspired by his skepticism over the proposed charter amendment that would change the City Council's terms changed to three years, staggered so that only three of nine are up for election in any year.

David Schuttler has an interesting clip of Bill Christiansen from a 2006 City Council meeting regarding the proposed south Tulsa bridge. (If you're on the home page, click the "Continue reading" link to see it.)

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 2, 2009 11:49 PM.

Tulsa GOP chairman praises councilors on ethics board stance was the previous entry in this blog.

The Gift of Standing Up is the next entry in this blog.

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