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Tulsa mayoral race heats up; candidates spend big

Despite Tulsa having its first nonpartisan mayoral race, the Nov. 12 election ballot will have both a Democrat and a Republican.

Members of groups such as Republicans for Kathy express that they are voting for Democrat Kathy Taylor despite their Republican views.

Taylor wrote on her campaign website, “A group of Republicans make it clear that in this no-partisan election, the only thing that matters is who will run an accountable, transparent city hall that will get our city back to basics and not continue to mislead Tulsans.”

Mayor Dewey Bartlett claims to have the Republican Party vote on his campaign website.

“We are proud to stand with a united Republican Party to keep Tulsa headed in the right direction,” said Bartlett. “We’ve seen a pattern from Kathy Taylor of trying to rewrite history and bury her past but Tulsans won’t fall for those tactics.”

Bill Christiansen, a primary candidate, originally offered his endorsement to Dewey Bartlett because he is a Republican. Recently, however, Christiansen revoked his endorsement of Bartlett, and instead refuses to endorse either opponent.

At a press conference, Christiansen was quoted as saying, “Bartlett is not a true Conservative, instead he is a spend-and-tax liberal.”

Christiansen also mentioned the alleged attacks that Bartlett made against his wife during the primary election.

“I would like to send Mayor Bartlett a message to make sure your team does not go after my wife,” said Christiansen. “I think all women in Tulsa should take a good hard look at that action.”

The Tulsa mayoral election is also proving to be expensive. Kathy Taylor has raised a little over $2 million. Dewey Bartlett has raised about $1 million.

Kathy Taylor has invested $1.6 million of her own dollars into the race. In comparison, Mayor Dewey Bartlett has invested only $180,000 into his campaign, but has received $656,000 from donations.

Bartlett’s donators contributed more in price than Taylor’s. Bartlett received donations from $1,000 to $5,000, and the contributors are mostly vested in oil and gas. Taylor received donations from $200 to $3,000 from contributors mostly in law firms.

Tulsa voted to amend the city charter in 2011, and made the mayoral race nonpartisan. The change hopes to focus elections on individual candidates and not party affiliation.

In the primary election, Dem. Kathy Taylor received 42 percent of the vote, Rep. Dewey Bartlett received 34 percent of the vote, and Rep. Bill Christensen received 23 percent of the vote.

About 29.3 percent of Tulsa’s registered voters cast their ballot.

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