Physician Ed Shadid, who ran a mostly self-financed campaign, handily defeated bank officer Charlie Swinton in an election Tuesday for the Oklahoma City Council Ward 2 seat.
“I just feel ecstatic,” Shadid said from his watch party. “This was a grassroots effort with dozens and dozens and dozens of people working people to people and neighborhood to neighborhood.”
Shadid will succeed Councilman Sam Bowman, who decided not to run for re-election to the north-central Oklahoma City district.
Shadid received 62 percent of the vote after a hotly contested campaign that saw each candidate accuse the other of negative campaigning.
Tuesday's results reversed those from the March 1 primary, when Shadid, 42, a spinal surgeon, and Swinton, 61, a senior officer with BancFirst, won the right to face each other in the runoff. Swinton received 43 percent of the vote, and Shadid 35 percent in a race that had six candidates.
“We led at the primary so my hat is tipped to him for his ability to turn it around,” Swinton said. “It was a big surprise to me. I thought we'd done everything to win ... I'm proud of my supporters; proud of what we tried to accomplish.”
Shadid's victory Tuesday prevented a controversial special interest group a sweep by city council candidates it supported in this year's elections.
The Committee for Oklahoma City Momentum spent more than $400,000 running campaigns supporting Swinton and three other candidates, according to campaign finance documents filed almost two weeks before the election.
The group did not give money directly to candidates, which would limit donations to $5,000. There is no limit on the independent expenditures, which can be used to purchase ads advocating for or against a candidate. The group was funded by a nonprofit company founded in February and did not list individual donors.
In mailings, Oklahoma City Momentum often portrayed Shadid as too radical for Oklahoma City and an environmental extremist.
“The people have sent a strong message that they want anonymous money out of their elections,” Shadid said about his victory. “They want the elections decided between the candidates and the voters on policy issues and not on fear and fear tactics.”
Shadid's self-financed campaign raised $78,725 and spent $66,541 as of two weeks ago. In advertisements, Shadid criticized Swinton for being beholden to special interest groups such as Oklahoma City Momentum, an accusation Swinton denied.
Oklahoma City Momentum spent money running campaigns supporting three candidates that won election on March 1 — Ward 5 Councilman-elect David Greenwell, Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer and Ward 8 Councilman Pat Ryan.
In all, more than $1 million was raised and spent by candidates and special interest groups during the campaigns for the four council seats.
Shadid will be sworn in at Tuesday's council meeting, along with Greenwell, Salyer and Ryan.
“The first goal is to get every neighborhood association and as many people as possible connected via the Internet and maximize public participation in their neighborhood associations and affect decision-making at the municipal level,” Shadid said.