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Young candidate calls election 'humbling'

By Julie Bisbee Modified: April 4, 2008 at 4:50 pm •  Published: April 4, 2008
People were fed up with what was going on in the city, and they voted me in.

"Since I've been in office we've put a lot of emphasis on economic development and it seems to be working.”

Neophyte mayors bring energy, optimism and idealism to the office, said Rowe.

"There is a benefit to being young and a desire to do the right thing,” Rowe said. "However, there's a lot to be said about the wisdom life brings.”

Results were surprising
Hammons will face Hershel McBride in the May 13 election. If he can convince voters in Muskogee, an eastern Oklahoma city with a population of about 40,000, he may have a shot at being one of the youngest mayors in the state.

For Hammons, even Tuesday night's election was a victory — he got more votes than he thought he would.

Hammons received 1,849 votes, or 42.4 percent, to McBride's 1,697 votes, or 38.9 percent. Hammons and McBride were among a field of six candidates.

"It's amazing,” said Hammons, who plans to transfer to Northeastern Oklahoma State University if elected. "It's the most humbling experience of my life.

"We weren't sure how it was going to go,” Hammons said. "When the results came in and we were in second, we felt good. That's all we wanted ...

"I went down to the election board, and they said, ‘Mr. Hammons, you just won.' I just froze. It was euphoric. I'm not the mayor, but I beat him.”

McBride served as Muskogee mayor from 2000 to 2006 and has owned grocery and convenience stores for nearly 50 years.

"I was surprised. I knew there would be a runoff, but I thought more than likely it might be between me and somebody else,” McBride said Wednesday.

"He's a nice young man, but when it comes down to it, it will be between one who has experience and one who doesn't.”

Runoff set
The office of Muskogee mayor will be decided in a May 13 runoff election. The candidates are John Tyler Hammons, 19; and former Muskogee Mayor Hershel McBride, 70.

Other vote
Two city council seats will also be decided in runoffs that day. Candidates for Ward 2 are Frank C. Borovetz Jr. and Charles Shawn Raper. The Ward 4 runoff foes are Jackie DeWayne Luckey and Barry Alexander Rader III.


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