In a striking blow to the tea party's foray into local politics, voters elected Tuesday two incumbents and a political newcomer to seats on the Oklahoma City Council.
The results, which saw incumbents Meg Salyer and Pat Ryan along with challenger David Greenwell defeat three candidates endorsed by the Sooner Tea Party, also were a blow to the local firefighter union which backed the losing candidates.
Greenwell defeated Ward 5 incumbent Brian Walters by about 450 votes.
There will be a runoff election in April between Charlie Swinton, a senior banking officer, and Ed Shadid, a doctor, to decide who will succeed outgoing Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman.
If the results in three of the races decided Tuesday were a stinging defeat of union-backed candidates, it was a ringing endorsement of the direction Oklahoma City is heading with initiatives such as MAPS 3, winners said.
Supporters of Salyer, Ryan and Greenwell included many business interests that supported the MAPS 3 initiative. Firefighters opposed MAPS 3 and failed to back a winning candidate. The firefighter and police unions have endorsed Shadid.
Political observers have noted the large amount of money spent on both sides was a bit unusual for a city council race.
Salyer, who is president of a local business, garnered 64 percent of the Ward 6 vote to 27 percent for tea-party backed Adrian Van Manen, a music director at the politically active Windsor Hills Baptist Church. Jessica Holstein, a research assistant at a psychiatry clinic, received 9 percent of the vote.
“I'm absolutely thrilled,” Salyer said at her watch party. “This has been so much fun to be out in the ward on a one-on-one basis ... I think that this is just a resounding result. I think it says we're doing the right stuff.”
In Ward 8, Ryan, a retired utility executive, won 73 percent of the vote, easily defeating tea-party backed Cliff Hearron, a retired U.
Oklahoma election results