Tulsa Mayoral Candidate Crashes Debate After He Wasn't Invited

Thursday, June 2nd 2016, 6:41 pm
By: News On 6

A candidate running for mayor of Tulsa stormed a stage interrupting an event, even though he wasn't invited. 

Now, some wonder whether the mayoral debates have been inclusive to all five candidates.

For democracy to work, voters need the opportunity to hear and question candidates. But deciding which candidates are included isn't as straight forward as you might think.

"You have blocked me one too many times,” perennial candidate Paul Tay said. “You have blocked me. You have blocked other candidates one too many times. I'm tired of it.  I'm tired of it, get it?" 

Related Video: Paul Tay Interrupts Tulsa Mayoral Debate

Tay interrupted a debate between current mayor Dewey Bartlett and councilman GT Bynum - one of two debates that were held on Wednesday.

Tay and two other candidates were not invited to either event.

“Man, I will not step off, you get it?" Tay said.

Tay had to be led off the stage by security, still claiming the exposure he's gotten hasn't been fair.

“What we have to do is balance what's fair to the candidates, versus what's fair to the voters,” former mayor Rodger Randle said.

Randle, who now is a professor at the University of Oklahoma, says he understands Tay's point. 

“Excluding candidates -- that's not fair to the candidates," Randle said.

But he says the process needs to best serve voters.

“To really look in-depth at the candidates most likely to be elected,” he said.

To determine which candidates voters most likely want to hear from, Randle says groups hosting debates will use local polling and a person's history of running for office," Randle said. "Meaning a person 'who never in the past have gotten any significant number of votes, then there is good reason to think they're not going to get significant numbers this year either."

By excluding candidates, Randle believes it gives voters more time to evaluate those who have the most potential to win, as opposed to giving time to candidates less likely to get enough votes.

“Then you take away from the voters,” Randle said.

To determine who qualified for last night's debate, organizers said they used a Sooner Poll and required candidates to poll at 10 percent or more to be invited.