All politics is ... what?
by Barry Friedman
There was a mayoral election in Tulsa yesterday, between Mayor Dewey Bartlett and former Mayor Kathy Taylor, his predecessor, and ... well, in a minute.
(Yeah, I know, most places in America vote on the first Tuesday in November. Go figure.)
It was our first non-partisan (Hey, hey, stop laughing) election ever, designed to increase participation from those yearning for a more civilized political debate (are you going to stop laughing or what?) and as long as you don't count cameos by Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, Republican Congressman Jim Bridenstine, and Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on behalf of the Republican, Bartlett, it almost was.
So, what happened? Well, it's Oklahoma. What do you think happened? Taylor didn't run a great race--it wasn't awful, either--and I'm not sure it would have mattered, anyway, because, as mentioned before in this column, Bartlett is a relatively sane Republican--and considering the GOP in this state has an all-day pass here and spends most of its time filing frivolous lawsuits and talking about ladyparts, the Ten Commandments, healthcare, and the evil, evil gays-- that's not only saying something, it's kind of attractive.
And while Taylor supporters would disagree, there just wasn't strong enough sentiment in town not to vote for Bartlett.
This race was not vitriolic. Good on them. Good on us.
Still, especially with the injection of national politics--Inhofe pretty much accused Taylor of having a crush on the president--it promised to be exciting. Taylor outspent Bartlett 3-1; there was an accusation that Bartlett benefitted from a land deal; a GOP candidate, whom Bartlett defeated in the primary, endorsed Taylor; an odd story about a stalker surfaced; and ...
Oh, I'm sorry--this is all inside baseball stuff. Tulsans care about these developments--not you--just as they care about the city's new, vibrant downtown and plans for river development. The national meddling notwithstanding, this was about Tulsa. And it's a cliche, but yes, it was a retail campaign--streets and trash and parking and even garage sales.
All politics is local.
But you should always check with the locals first--just to be sure.
Election officials said voter turnout was about 20 percent.