Saying he’s the only candidate conducting a positive campaign, Mayor Mick Cornett is rejecting the idea of debates in the final weeks leading to the March 4 mayoral election.
Cornett is being challenged by Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid and two others, Phil Hughes and Joe B. Sarge Nelson, as he seeks to become Oklahoma City’s only four-term mayor.
Shadid called for debates after filing for the race with the Oklahoma County Election Board last month.
The mayor’s campaign issued a statement Friday saying the mayor was meeting with voters, interacting on social media, and answering questions about the issues every day.
“He is the most accessible and transparent candidate in this race,” the statement said. “Mayor Cornett believes that the voters of Oklahoma City deserve a positive campaign focused on the issues and presenting a vision for the future. Currently, Mayor Cornett is the only candidate conducting a positive campaign focused on the issues. If that changes, he will continue to consider a debate.”
Shadid issued a statement saying the mayor’s unwillingness to debate “should be a red flag for the people of Oklahoma City.”
“The people deserve to hear the contrasting views of the candidates outside of prepared statements and 30-second sound bites,” Shadid said. “I believe elected officials have a civic duty to debate. Good leaders are always prepared to defend their policy positions to anyone who asks. The people of Oklahoma City have not had a well-contested mayoral election in which the issues facing the city were thoroughly discussed in a decade.”