Tulsa Election 2013: Ethics report notes; mayoral bet-hedgers

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This is the first City of Tulsa mayoral election in which candidates are required by state law to file campaign finance reports through the Oklahoma Ethics Commission, rather than the city clerk's office, making it far easier to have access to the reports and analyze them. Tulsa County candidates also must file electronically through the Ethics Commission. The links below will take you directly to each candidate's C1-R pre-primary disclosure. From there you can navigate to the list of individual contributors, loans, PAC contributions, and expenditures.

Tulsa Mayor:

Dewey Bartlett Jr C1-R
Bill Christiansen SO-1 (no C1-R available yet)
Kathy Taylor C1-R

(The other two candidates, Lawrence Kirkpatrick and Jerry Branch, have not filed any paperwork at all.)

Tulsa City Auditor:

Cathy Criswell C1-R
Josh Lewis C1-R
Clift Richards C1-R

Tulsa County Commissioner, District 3

Don Crall C1-R
Brandon Perkins SO-1 (no C1-R available yet)
Ron Peters SO-1 (no C1-R available yet)
John A. Wright C1-R

Some notes:

Perhaps it's a problem with getting used to a new set of rules or a glitch in the online reporting system, but a surprising number of candidates appear to have missed the deadline. For example, Brandon Perkins must have exceeded the $500 expenditure threshold, with a large number of professionally printed signs up for weeks, but he only filed a statement of organization (SO-1) for his campaign last Friday.

Kathy Taylor and Dewey Bartlett Jr have each raised about the same amount of monetary contributions -- Taylor raised $459,500 and Bartlett Jr raised $413,815 -- and yet Taylor has spent almost three times as much -- $1,277,021.91 vs. $447,710.88. The difference: Taylor has lent her campaign $852,000; Bartlett Jr. has lent his campaign $62,000.


Most candidates itemized their expenditures, as the instructions require ("Give the following information for expenditures of more than $1000 in the aggregate to one entity during the reporting period.") but Taylor reported them as two lump sums (with the payee listed as Lump Sum Expenditures, N/a, N/a, OK 12345), which keeps the rest of us from finding out the identities of her campaign consultants and vendors and the amount spent on various types of campaign expenditures.

Kathy Taylor's donors include several out-of-state business associates of her husband, Bill Lobeck, who also made large contributions to Chris Trail's 2009 City Council race against Taylor nemesis Bill Martinson. Many of them gave the maximum amount.

It's interesting to see which donors are hedging their bets in the mayoral race. George Kaiser has given $3,500 to Bartlett Jr and $2,500 to Kathy Taylor, but Kaiser's wife, Myra Block, gave $1,000 to Taylor, making the couple's total $3,500 for each. Joe Craft gave $5,000 each to Bartlett Jr and Taylor, as did Ed Leinbach and Sanjay Meshri. Joe Cappy gave $2,500 to each of the two.

Howard G. Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa and former chief of staff to former Gov. Frank Keating, gave $5,000 to Bartlett Jr and $2,000 to Taylor. James Adelson, brother of 2009 Democrat mayoral nominee Tom Adelson, gave $1,500 to Taylor and $500 to Bartlett Jr.

Margaret Erling gave $1,000 to Kathy Taylor; Margaret Erling Frette gave $500 to Dewey Bartlett Jr. Attorney Fred Dorwart gave $1,000 to each. Mike Case gave $3,000 to Taylor, $2,500 to Bartlett Jr.

Former Susan Savage aide Jim East gave $250 to Bartlett Jr; his wife, former Insurance Commissioner Kim Holland-East, gave $500 to Taylor.

Stacy Schusterman gave $1,000 to Bartlett Jr, but $5,000 to Taylor. Her mother Lynn Schusterman gave $2,500 to Taylor and nothing to Bartlett Jr. Meredith Siegfried, CEO of Nordam Group, gave $500 to Bartlett Jr, with whom she served on the airport board, but $2,000 to Taylor. Milann Siegfried also gave $500 to Bartlett Jr, but $1,000 to Taylor.

Conspicuously absent from any list is the surname Lorton, but This Land Press publisher Vincent Lovoi gave $5,000 to Kathy Taylor.

The giving patterns suggest to me that, should Bartlett Jr and Taylor both survive to the second round, the Midtown Money Belt will abandon Bartlett Jr and swing behind Taylor. This is the same thing that happened in 2006: The Money Belt made sure that one of their own, Bill LaFortune, survived his primary challenge from Chris Medlock, and that Taylor defeated the more populist Democrat Don McCorkell, to set up a general election that they couldn't lose. But once the primary was over, the money and endorsements went to Taylor. The Money Belt will have won the election should Taylor and Bartlett Jr survive to the second round; Bartlett Jr will be kicked to the curb as no longer useful. The question is whether he would actually fight to keep his job, try to rally Republicans on a partisan basis, or effectively stand aside, putting up only a token fight.

Perhaps an indication of the esteem in which the office is held and the power which the office is perceived to wield, the City Auditor's race is starved for cash. Josh Lewis, who led the EMSA audit for the State Auditor's office, leads the pack with a whopping $7,341.68. Cathy Criswell, who worked in Kathy Taylor's administration, has raised $3,770.00. Incumbent Clift Richards lent his campaign all the money it has -- $1,000. You can't even run an effective city council race on that kind of money, much less a citywide race.

MORE: The Tulsa World has a summary of donors by amount and includes Bill Christiansen's report. Christiansen raised $87,729 and lent his campaign $215,000.

STILL MORE: Dewey Bartlett Jr spent over half of his campaign cash -- $271,486.02 -- with companies based at 7669 Stagers Loop, Delaware, Ohio. Buzzfeed has a story today on this campaign consulting conglomerate that some ex-employees describe as cultlike. Bartlett Jr spent less than 10% of his campaign funds -- $32,452.52 -- with Tulsa vendors and consultants, and all but $6,053.38 of that went to his campaign manager, Daniel Patten.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 4, 2013 8:57 AM.

Kathy Taylor's runoff problem was the previous entry in this blog.

Tulsa mayoral meet-and-greet, Wednesday at Harwelden is the next entry in this blog.

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