By Conrad Dudderar
Nineteen Canadian County polling places will be open Tuesday, Feb. 8 as voters cast ballots in a hotly contested Oklahoma City mayoral election.
Incumbent David Holt and challengers Carol Hefner, Jimmy Lawson, and Frank Urbanic are running for the City of Oklahoma City’s top elected office. Voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day.
Early, in-person voting will be offered from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb. 3-4 at the Canadian County Election Board office in El Reno.
If no candidate earns at least 50% of all votes cast, a runoff between the top two finishers will be Tuesday, April 5. The winner will begin the next four-year term at the next Oklahoma City Council meeting in April.
This is a non-partisan election open to all registered voters who live in Oklahoma City, which includes a significant part of Canadian County.
The Oklahoma City mayor’s annual salary is $24,000.
Urbanic, a criminal defense attorney and decorated combat veteran, is campaigning as a pro-business and pro-worker candidate who favors property rights and limited government.
“As mayor, I won’t shut down your business,” Urbanic pledged to Oklahoma City residents. “I’ll respect your rights and freedoms as a citizen of our great city.”
He has questioned the legal authority for local governments and the State of Oklahoma to shut down businesses during states of emergency.
When the COVID-19 pandemic surged in late 2020, Urbanic filed lawsuits on behalf of Oklahoma bar and restaurant owners to challenge restrictions prohibiting the sale of food and beverages after 11 p.m.
“Mayor Holt’s threats of six months in jail to workers for simply trying to make a living were completely over the top,” the mayoral challenger said. “His COVID-19 shutdown proclamations were unlawful abuses of power.
“Rather than abusing my power, I will look out for the everyday working men and women of our community – the people our current mayor has forgotten.”
Calling himself a conservative grassroots Republican, Urbanic has served as a GOP precinct and district chair and member of the Oklahoma County GOP’s Executive Committee.
Urbanic – who finished in the top 5% of his class – said he’s used his law degree to protect liberty and freedom in the community.
He has worked with Oklahoma City-area legislators to write and pass legislation allowing video conferencing in courtrooms.
Urbanic is a veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force for more than 22 years. He was deployed four times to the Middle East.
Having flown more than 90 combat missions over Afghanistan and Iraq during his career, Lt. Col. Urbanic has been awarded three Air Medals.
Urbanic now flies in the Air Force Reserves at Tinker Air Force Base and is an instructor and evaluator air surveillance officer.
Lawson, a college professor and activist, is the only registered Democrat running for Oklahoma City mayor.
When he declared his candidacy for office, he said it was because of his passion to serve others and help them to live a better life.
“My vision for Oklahoma City is to provide access to resources and programs for all people, without barriers,” Lawson said. “Eliminating homelessness, providing our youth with wrap-around services, and creating equity in our criminal justice system are all imperative in order for Oklahoma City to reach optimum growth and maximization.
“I believe we can challenge the status quo and shift the paradigm for generations to come.”
Lawson has served Oklahoma City residents for more than 20 years, focusing on helping the wrongfully convicted, feeding the homeless and mentoring youth.
For years, he’s fed the homeless in downtown Oklahoma City through a NewPoint Church outreach ministry.
Lawson has hosted an annual Christmas toy drive for underprivileged youth in honor of Julius Jones, his lifelong best friend. Lawson has advocated for Jones, who he believed was wrongfully convicted of capital murder.
The mayoral contender is director of permitting services at the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Commission and teaches finance and economic courses at Rose State College.
He was named “Professor of the Year” in 2013 at the University of Phoenix and “Adjunct Professor of the Year” in 2019 for Rose State’s School of Business.
Also in 2019, Lawson created a college scholarship fund for John Marshall High School graduating seniors in honor of his late father, Bishop Lawson Sr.
In 1998, Lawson earned a NCAA Division 1 basketball scholarship and was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s Freshman of the Year during his first season.
Holt took office April 10, 2018, as Oklahoma City’s 36th mayor after being elected Feb. 13 with 78.5% of the vote. He became Oklahoma City’s youngest mayor since 1923 and its first Native American mayor.
The last four years have seen “unprecedented triumph” and “unprecedented challenges”, Holt said.
“But through it all, Oklahoma City has maintained its momentum. We have persevered, as we always do. And we have done it by setting aside the things that divide us and working together as ‘One OKC’.”
The incumbent applies his philosophy of unity to his four top priorities:
- Maintaining upgrades in core services, including streets, transit, infrastructure, police and fire protection
- Continuing our improvements in quality of life and our commitment to economic growth through MAPS and other initiatives
- Supporting and improving public education
- Incorporating the diversity of the city into decision-making
During his second year in office, Mayor Holt recorded his signature achievement – shepherding the development and successful passage of MAPS 4, an ambitious, nearly $1 billion package that will address 16 critical challenges and opportunities.
He touted Oklahoma City’s “lowest-in-the-nation” unemployment rate, “booming” economy with new industries “rising to secure our future economic success” and “soaring” population growth.
In 2020, Holt was elected as a trustee of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and board of directors of the National League of Cities. He has been named one of the “Ten Outstanding Young Americans” under age 40 by the U.S. Jaycees.
Oklahoma City’s mayor is a licensed attorney who works for a family-owned investment company in Oklahoma City.
Holt spent almost eight years in the Oklahoma Senate. He served five years as chief of staff to his predecessor, former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett.
Holt previously worked for a U.S. House speaker, a U.S. president, lieutenant government, and members of the U.S. House and Senate.
Hefner is a Republican businesswoman who has been a board member for many non-profits over the past 39 years.
She calls herself pro-business, pro-police and pro-growth – and a “woman with a backbone.”
“The time has come for a genuine conservative to serve the city we love, and I am answering that call!” Hefner said. “This is Oklahoma City. We don’t need a mayor who works for Joe Biden. We need a leader who stands up for us.”
Hefner cited her long, successful history of navigating complex negotiations, decision-making and comprehending large-scale projects.
“We need a bold leader in the mayor’s office – someone who won’t bow to BLM (Black Lives Matter) protesters or the Biden Administration like our current mayor,” she said.
“President Biden has a negative 50-point approval rating in Oklahoma, yet our current mayor has become one of Biden’s biggest cheerleaders, endorsing Biden’s agenda.”
Upon launching her campaign, the mayoral hopeful said she was “stepping up” to give Oklahoma City a new vision that will restore “our values” of faith, family and freedom.
“It is time for rescue and rejuvenation across Oklahoma City,” she added. “Time for a mayor who will resist corruption, stand firm for our identity and be authentic in word and deed while upholding the true role of government.”
Hefner believes it’s the “heart and soul” of Oklahoma City residents that have made it the “Shining City on the Prairie” it’s become.
The city’s rich history of living by the Golden Rule is being threatened to its core, she claims.
Thousands of homeless arriving by busloads from “leftist cities” has increased the burden on Oklahoma City while taking advantage of other people’s goodwill, Hefner added.
Meanwhile, she said city streets are crumbling while the current mayor is obsessed with funding new social programs.
CANADIAN COUNTY PRECINCTS OPEN
Twenty-two Canadian County precincts at 19 polling sites will be open for the Feb. 8th Oklahoma City mayoral election:
200 – Surrey Hills Baptist Church, 12421 N Mustang Road – Yukon
201/202 – Richland Nazarene Church, 10825 N 6th Street (Richland) – Yukon
206 – Bethel Community Church (Bradford Family Life Center), 4901 N Sara Road – Yukon
211 – Trinity Baptist Church Yukon, 620 N Cemetery Road – Yukon
215 – Church of Christ, 11700 NW 10th Street – Yukon
217 – Covenant Community Church, 2250 Yukon Parkway – Yukon
220 – Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore Drive – Yukon
221 – House of Restoration Church, 301 N Czech Hall Road – Yukon
223 – Canadian Hills Nazarene Church, 11744 W Reno Ave. – Yukon
224 – Int’l Pentecostal Assembly Church, 12221 Park Ave. – Yukon
225 – Joe Cooper Dodge of Yukon, 11001 W Reno Ave. – Yukon
226 – West Point Christian Church, 1600 S Richland Road – Yukon
227 – United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd, 10928 SW 15th St. – Yukon
228 – Sara Road Baptist Church, 2015 N Sara Road – Yukon
302 – Mustang Nazarene Church, 700 E Highway 152 – Mustang
303 – Church of Christ West Metro, 4900 S Cemetery Road – Yukon
308/309/398 – Lakehoma Church of Christ, 2124 W Highway 152 – Mustang
503 – Light Your World Church, 4550 NW Expressway – Okarche
506 – Piedmont First Baptist Church, 15 Jackson Ave. NW – Piedmont