Tulsa Mayor Race Left Wide Open

Friday, June 5th 2009, 9:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Ashli Sims, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Mayor Kathy Taylor's surprise announcement about not running for re-election sent shockwaves through Tulsa's political circles.

Many are wondering who might fill her shoes. What caught many by surprise could be a golden political opportunity.

"Thought it was important to do it soon enough so that a viable candidate that was interested in running whoever that might be hopefully someone with a business background and a Tulsa agenda could get out there and get ready to run before the July filing period," Taylor said.

Clay Clark, a 29-year-old businessman and political novice, is the only one to officially enter the race for mayor, but that could all change as early as next week.

Some of the mayor's foes on the city council are topping the list of possible candidates.

District 2 Councilor Rick Westcott said he was thinking about it "very, very hard."

Bill Christiansen from District 8 said "he's strongly considering it."

Some are speculating Bill Martinson also might toss his hat into the ring.

Political insiders say a couple of local businessmen with political pasts are also weighing bids.

Oil man Dewey Bartlett launched a mayoral campaign in 1992, and he said several people have urged him to run and he's considering it.

Tulsa businessman Howard Barnett's name has also been floated. He served as former Gov. Frank Keating's chief of staff from 1999 to 2003. Most recently he lost a bid for state treasurer.

He said he's flattered but hasn't really thought about it.

On the Democratic side, a state senator has a lot of people talking. Tom Adelson was elected in 2004.

The native Tulsan was Gov. Brad Henry's secretary of health before he became a lawmaker. He said he's "going to take a serious look at the race."

Potential candidates have until July 15 to file.

Voters will head to the polls for the primaries in September.