What began as a night full of hope with area conservatives that OKC Mayor Holt would go down in defeat turned into a night of defeat as Holt easily won re-election, winning 59% percent of the vote to win outright.
The responses of the two conservative candidates echoed the temperature of the end of the campaign. Carol Hefner was gracious, positive, and upbeat, encouraging her voters to stay engaged and work even harder to get more conservative voters engaged in the process.
Frank Urbanic, seemingly confused about the true focus of the election, instead chose to continue his bitter raging against Hefner. When contacted by The Oklahoman for a comment, Urbanic said, “all citizens of Oklahoma City should rest easy knowing that Carol Hefner will never be mayor.”
It likely wouldn’t have mattered even if Hefner hadn’t gotten in the race, as Holt’s vote total easily exceeded Hefner and Urbanic combined. That fact didn’t stop a few Urbanic supporters from blaming the loss on a crowded field, which is understandable given their disappointment, albeit misguided.
Holt’s formidable political machine, that seemed to lose momentum towards the end of the race when Hefner outraised him by over 300% in the month of January alone, raced out to a lead of over 3,400 votes in absentee voting alone and only increased his lead throughout the night, winning by over 24,000 votes in one of the largest municipal election turnouts in recent history.
Conservatives Show Up Strong in Norman, Edmond
The night wasn’t a complete bust, however, as the conservative candidates for the two Edmond School Board races as well as the Norman Mayoral race all made it to the runoff election.
Michael Grande nearly won the EPS Place 5 position outright last night, beating Marcus Jones by only 71 votes. Grande missed winning the election outright by only 40 votes. Given that the third candidate in the race, Deonna Maxfield, only garnered 79 total votes, the runoff is likely to be as close of a race as the primary.
Cheryl Williams came in first in the EPS Place 2 race by well over 400 votes over the next closest candidate. The crowded race was seemingly the only thing that kept Williams from securing the outright victory. She now heads to the runoff against Courtney Hobgood.
The biggest moment of the night came in the Norman Mayor race, where Larry Heikkila finished just over 1,000 votes behind Marxist Mayor Breea Clark. Heikkila easily outdistanced conservative challenger, Dr. Nicole Kish, by over 4,400 votes. While Kish being in the race didn’t necessarily keep Heikkila from beating Clark outright last night, it did keep him from coming in first place.
With Midway Bob Thompson finishing third in the race with 4,292 votes (good for 18.9% of the vote), Norman conservatives must unite behind Heikkila in force in order to give him the victory over Clark in the runoff.
When contacted by Ignite Liberty Tuesday evening, Heikkila beamed with optimism, saying that his campaign was “looking forward to staying in the fight.”
OKC Conservatives Must Regroup
If the conservatives in Oklahoma City are ever going to rid themselves of Mayor Holt, they are going to have to develop united front much earlier in the campaign. Hefner’s campaign proved that it had the force to out-fundraise Holt if given the time to do it, something Urbanic struggled with the entire time. Unfortunately, two months simply wasn’t enough time to saturate the electorate with her message.
Given that, Hefner is the only one on the political landscape right now that could conceivably challenge Holt in 2026 – assuming Holt doesn’t run for a higher office before then. However, doing so will require a much longer campaign in order to remove the rose-colored glasses from the eyes of their fellow citizens who seem as if they are in a perpetual MAPS-induced daze.
This fact alone causes Alexis de Tocqueville’s quote to hit a little too close to home:
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”