MUSKOGEE — A 19-year-old student at the University of Oklahoma was elected mayor of Muskogee in Tuesday's elections.
John Tyler Hammons handily beat city government veteran Hershel Ray McBride in the race for mayor in this eastern Oklahoma community of 40,000. Hammons received 3,703 votes, or 69.6 percent, and McBride got 1,616 votes or 30.3 percent of the vote.
"I'm so humbled by this opportunity," Hammons said Tuesday evening from his election watch party at a restaurant in Muskogee. "Nothing can stop us now. Muskogee's future is unlimited."
Hammons will become one of the youngest mayors in Oklahoma history. In 1994, Dustin Rowe became the mayor of Tishomingo at 18.
Hammons, said he plans to transfer from the University of Oklahoma to Northeastern Oklahoma State University, which has a branch campus in Muskogee, so he can be involved in city government.
The city, with an annual budget of about $27.8 million, is a city manager-city council form of government. Hammons will be a part of a nine-member council. The mayor's term in Muskogee is two years, while council members serve staggered four-year terms. Hammons will be sworn in Monday and will preside over his first city council meeting on Tuesday.
"This is no longer about me," Hammons said. "This is about Muskogee and its future."
Tuesday's election was the second time Hammons and McBride, 70, had faced off. Hammons was a top vote-getter among a field of six candidates in an April election. McBride, who served as mayor in Muskogee from 2000 to 2006, did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday night.
"There was a clear distinction between my honorable opponent and I," Hammons said. "It was clear what he stood for and it was clear what I stood for. We let the voters decide who was right. I think they made the right choice."
John Tyler Hammons