Three-term Mayor Mick Cornett filed his re-election paperwork early Tuesday at the Oklahoma County Election Board, making him the first candidate to enter the race. More candidates are expected to file before Friday's deadline.
Feeling jovial while waiting for his filing to be processed, Cornett joked
with election board workers and reporters covering the event.
“Is it like this every day around here?” he asked, referring
to the media’s presence and the light mood.
“Am I the first one this morning? You should close it down then,” he said to a round of laughs.
Businessman Phil Hughes also filed for the mayor’s seat Tuesday. Retired general contractor Joe "Sarge" Nelson said he intends to file his paperwork with the election board Friday morning.
So far, Cornett's run a low-key campaign since last August, when he first announced he would seek a fourth term. Cornett said his campaign will “ramp up” after the filing period officially closes at 5 p.m. Friday.
“It’s going to become higher profile than it has been,” he
said. “We have our neighborhood steering committee of about 800 to 900 people and I’ll be meeting with as many people as I can and working with our volunteer base. You’ll see TV ads and newspaper ads drawing attention to the fact that this is an important election.”
Shadid thinks so, too.
“This will be the first contested (mayoral) election in a decade,” the Ward 2 councilman said. “Taxpayers need a thorough discussion of the issues facing the city today. We need debates with all of the candidates involved.”
Several local groups, including the League of Women Voters and KOCO-TV, have said they’re interested in hosting a mayoral debate, Shadid said.
“We need to talk about issues like the convention center and hotel,” he said. “Mick says that’s not an issue, but it is and it is a significant risk to the taxpayers. We can’t hide and not debate and discuss the issues.”
Cornett, a former sportscaster, was elected as a councilman in 2001, and then won his first mayoral election in 2004. He was re-elected in 2006 and 2010. Shadid, a spinal surgeon, was elected to the Ward 2 council seat in 2011.
The mayor is paid $24,000 a year.
This story will update.