We have written occasionally about partisanship creeping into what are supposed to be elections for nonpartisan offices. This unfortunate trend is occurring with a vengeance in two Oklahoma City Council races.
Ward 6 councilor Meg Salyer and Ward 8 councilor Patrick Ryan, two of the shining lights on the panel, each face opposition backed by the tea party in Oklahoma.
The challengers, Adrian Van Manen in Ward 6 and Clifford Hearron in Ward 8, say they know the races are nonpartisan but that they're not about to separate themselves from those who feel the same way they do about government.
Hearron challenged The Oklahoman's Michael Baker to show him someone who is “a true nonpartisan.” He continued: “Given what we've got, I'd rather see the tea party take it over.”
This is disconcerting, not only because partisan politics has no place on the city council, but also because Salyer and Ryan have done an excellent job working for their wards and for the benefit of the entire city. Oklahoma City's growth and standing today are the envy of many cities around the nation. This is due in no small part to the willingness of council members to put politics aside and work together.
The co-founder of the Sooner Tea Party said he would delight in being able to “wrest control of the biggest city in the state from the progressives' and liberals' hands.” That sort of rhetoric is troubling, and city residents should remember it when they vote March 1.