Candidates in runoffs for city council seats in Oklahoma City's Wards 1 and 7 worked to get their final messages to voters over the weekend. Early voting continues Monday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma County Election Board office, 4201 N Lincoln Blvd. Regular precinct polling stations will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Volunteers rallied during the weekend for Gary Marrs — and the results were evident in northwest Oklahoma City's Ward 1, where signs promoting his re-election lined major roads.
Marrs, 66, is a former Oklahoma City fire chief first elected to the City Council in 2004.
He has been re-elected twice but is in a battle after running a close second in the March primary, despite a big fundraising advantage.
Saturday morning's volunteer rush was energetic, Marrs said: “We seem to have a lot of support.”
He went out Saturday afternoon with brochures and a couple of dozen yard signs in his own car.
Turnout is a major concern after only 5 percent of those eligible voted last month, he said.
“We don't put out anything that we don't highlight the date,” Marrs said.
He has been endorsed by Carolyn Sims, who ran third in the primary, and has financial support from retired firefighters and the Fraternal Order of Police.
Marrs spent $50,000 in the latest reporting period and still had $40,000 left for the final weeks.
“Team Greiner” — Ward 1 challenger James Greiner, his wife, Katie, and their 6-month-old daughter, Miriam — were out in their blue minivan, on a door-knocking trip at NW 54 Street and N Tulsa Avenue.
Dressed in a polo shirt and walking shoes, Greiner, 32, spent Saturday on the same tasks that helped him to a narrow win over incumbent Gary Marrs in last month's primary.
On doorsteps and in campaign mailings, Greiner said, he was continuing to make the case for limited government.
The city's primary responsibilities are to make sure neighborhoods are safe and roads are in good repair, he said.
Limited funds — about $5,400 on hand in mid-March — were of no concern, said Greiner, a graphic design team leader at Hobby Lobby.
“I've raised enough for what I wanted to spend it on,” he said.
He said a lot of voters were telling him they wanted “new blood” on the council.
“I've heard that phrase a lot,” Greiner said.
Ronald “Skip” Kelly
Two-term City Council member Ronald “Skip” Kelly attended Saturday afternoon's candidate forum at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, fielding questions on public transportation, threats faced by children exposed to violence, and residential neighborhoods squeezed by development.
Kelly, 63, won a six-way Ward 7 race in the March primary but fell short of winning outright.
Kelly said he was stressing his record of accomplishment in steering city spending to northeast Oklahoma City for streets and sidewalks, lighting to increase security, and centers where young people can find a safe haven.
The city announced last week that Social Security offices would be moving to Ward 7.
And Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett highlighted Kelly's record in telephone calls to voters and in ads running on radio.
Kelly reported having $20,000 to spend for the final weeks of the campaign.
An attorney in private practice, Kelly had a newspaper ad noting challenger John A. Pettis Jr. lacks a college degree and questioning Pettis' youth and business experience.
John A. Pettis Jr.
John A. Pettis Jr., 30, met voters and helped out Saturday with the annual Easter egg hunt at the King David Masonic Lodge on Highland Avenue off NE 23.
Pettis ran second with 26 percent in the March primary, which drew only 3,114 voters.
Thanks in large part to donations from political committees — including the Fraternal Order of Police and labor groups and Realtors — he was able to close the fundraising gap with incumbent Kelly.
Pettis had a radio ad up over the weekend with the police union calling for a council member for Ward 7 who would “stand up against crime.”
In a newspaper ad last week, Pettis said, “I have run a positive campaign” — but Pettis made the assertion only after drawing attention to a pending drunken driving case against Kelly.
Pettis' latest fundraising report, dated March 25, showed him with almost $14,000 left to spend: “We feel good about the direction of the campaign,” he said.