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Cornett sweeps to re-election

by William Crum Modified: March 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm •  Published: March 4, 2014

Mick Cornett swept to victory Tuesday night, overwhelming a spirited challenge by Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid to become Oklahoma City’s first four-term mayor.

With all 235 precincts reporting, Cornett had 31,495 votes, or 65.7 percent, to 15,739, or 32.8 percent for Shadid. Two other candidates, Phil Hughes and Joe B. Sarge Nelson, were drawing a combined 1.5 percent.

Cornett convinced voters that his stewardship of the Oklahoma City renaissance had positioned the city for a bright and prosperous future. Kate Huston, 32, who voted for Cornett at The Rock Church in southwest Oklahoma City, and had voted for him in the past, said the mayor “hasn’t done anything to disappoint.”

“I see the changes that are spreading out from the center of town,” she said. “When downtown benefits, the whole city benefits.”

With 167 of 235 precincts reporting, Cornett had 21,530 votes, or 64.6 percent, to 11,292, or 33.9 percent for Shadid. Two other candidates were drawing a combined 1.6 percent.

In his 10 years in the mayor’s suite at City Hall, Cornett has become known as ambassador and marketing director, as cheerleader and consensus-builder, as caretaker and persuader-in-chief.

Leveraging his skills from a career in local television news and sports, Cornett has shared Oklahoma City’s story of transformation — the renaissance that began with passage of the first MAPS initiative in 1993 — with audiences across the nation.

“As Oklahoma City does, so does the state,” said Gov. Mary Fallin, who was attending Cornett’s election night party at the Grill on the Hill in Capitol Hill. “It’s important that Oklahoma City does well because it’s our largest city in our state, but we want all of our state to do well.”

Shadid established his themes early, saying in June — when he announced his candidacy with an Internet video — that he planned a campaign “emphasizing honesty, transparency, unprecedented public participation and neighborhood interests over special interests.”

Shadid won the support of police and fire unions. He contended low-paid workers lack cost-effective transportation options because of sparse bus service. A physician and recovering addict, he said poverty, disease, addiction, and crime take an inordinate toll on the city.

Shadid is leading an initiative drive to call a vote on whether to drop the $252 million convention center from the list of MAPS 3 projects and end the 1-cent MAPS 3 sales tax early. A vote could occur, perhaps this time next year, if supporters gather about 6,000 valid signatures.

Lavelle Carbajal, 38, who voted for Cornett at Wildewood Baptist Church in northeast Oklahoma City, said with the benefit of Cornett’s vision the city had set an example for how other communities can better themselves.

“Oklahoma City is about forward movement, about the future,” said Carbajal, a producer with TeamBreakerBox, which describes itself as a global “music+media” social empowerment team.

Oklahoma City has developed a “creative culture primed for forward movement,” Carbajal said. “We are a part of that global conversation.” Carbajal singled out the arrival of the NBA’s Thunder basketball team and the burgeoning entertainment districts along Film Row and in Bricktown as evidence of the city’s success under Cornett.

Robyn Lemon Sellers, 56, attended Shadid’s election night party at Farmers Public Market.

“The more diversity we have in the decision-making process, where we have a lot of different kinds of people coming together and sharing their ideas, I think that is the best way to have democracy,” she said.

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by William Crum
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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