White announces public service ‘pause’

Many expected El Reno mayor to file for District 3 commissioner race

Matt White

After months of speculation, El Reno Mayor Matt White on Thursday announced he would not seek public office during the current election cycle.

“I want to thank the numerous citizens and business owners who have reached out to me, urging me to run for office,” White wrote in an April 14th letter. “Your confidence and belief that I am the best person for the job, as well as the many offers of financial and moral support, are overwhelming and have made this decision even more difficult for me – I know that I am qualified to do the job, but right now is just not the time for me.”

White’s announcement came as candidate filing for county, state, judicial and federal offices continued – including filing for the Canadian County District 3 commissioner’s seat.

Speculation has been rife for several months that White would possibly run for that position, being vacated by longtime Commissioner Jack Stewart as he vies for the new Oklahoma Senate District 18 seat. White in August 2021 announced he would not run for re-election to the El Reno Mayor’s post, which he has held for 15 years.


White’s wife Elisha is retiring after working for 31 years as an educator, a factor in his decision to put his public service “on pause,” he said.

“The next phase of my life will be focusing on family and serving in a different way,” White said in his letter.

“My service is not over, but for now, my public service is on pause.

“I’ve been asked to serve on some great boards, and several statewide candidates have asked me to help with their campaigns,” he continued. “I am committed to support those candidates who are committed to help El Reno and Canadian County.

“I feel before we choose to support any candidate for District 3 county commissioner or state representative, we should hear the candidates debate and pick the one that will do the best job for Canadian County.”