Incumbent Tulsa City Councilor Defeated By Businessman

Wednesday, September 9th 2009, 2:07 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa voters decided to replace a member of the Tulsa City Council, who lost to a political newcomer.  Just 18 votes made the difference for Chris Trail, who won with the extra help of firefighters.       

Over the last two months, 200 firefighters have worked for candidates, as many as 50 a day on the weekends knocking on doors.  Chris Trail believes the firefighters were key to his narrow victory.

"When they came aboard it really helped get the message out there," said Tulsa City Councilor-elect Chris Trail.

Firefighters helped several candidates knock on doors.  Three of the four candidates they backed made it through the election.

"We were pleased with the results, but we got what we wanted when were able to take part in the political process," said Firefighters Union President Stan May.

Firefighters targeted three city councilors for their questions about the budget for the fire departments.  The budget cuts that Martinson said ought to be considered were never fully reviewed by the council.

Martinson believes there is still a day of budget reckoning that will come for the next council.

"I just did what I thought was right for the City of Tulsa, and if I get knocked out of office for doing that, so be it.  The voters spoke.  I still think that Tulsa needs to challenge it's priorities on where it's spending its money," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Martinson.

Bill Martinson says he has no plans to ask for a recount, even though just 19 votes could change the outcome.

"I've got a life after the city council.  I think it's unfortunate what happened to Tulsa last night.  Either through apathy or people being intimidated into not going to the polls, turnout was extremely low and as a result, Chris Trail got elected," said Tulsa City Councilor Bill Martinson.

Trail goes into office with the support of half of the Republicans.  The Democrats and Independents couldn't vote because it was a primary and only Republicans were in the race.       

9/8/2009 Related story: Adelson, Bartlett Advance In the Race For Tulsa Mayor