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Politics

Norman chooses new mayor, as Larry Heikkila unseats incumbent Breea Clark

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Jolly Brown / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange
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Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in Norman, Okla. on April 5, 2022.

After a single term as Norman’s mayor, Breea Clark was defeated in Tuesday’s runoff election, by a vote of 53.4% to 46.6%.

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Norman mayor-elect Larry Heikkila

Norman’s new mayor will be Larry Heikkila, who is far to the right of the more progressive Clark, as he made clear in a campaign ad earlier this year.

“For far too long, the citizens of Norman have been victimized by the overreaching of the extremist council,” said Heikkila, who carried the backing of Norman's Fraternal Order of Police and campaigned on increasing funding for the Norman Police Department.

Clark was the youngest woman to hold the mayor’s office when first elected in 2019. Her tenure saw an unsuccessful recall attempt and death threats over coronavirus restrictions and the city council’s decision to divert more than $865,000 from a proposed police department’s budget increase to pay for social services to help the city's homeless, mentally ill and other vulnerable populations. Norman was the first city in the state to implement a mask mandate.

Her message to a crowd of about 50 of her supporters at her watch party was that she will support mayor-elect Heikkila’s transition to power.

“I promise you, Norman, he can count on me to be by his side every step of the way. Because I want our community to continue to succeed,” she said.

She went on to encourage her supporters to stay engaged in local government and help heal the divide in the community.

Norman City Council also had one runoff election on Tuesday, with Helen Grant being voted in to represent the city’s Ward 4. Grant beat out Gale Hobson by a vote of 54.4% to 45.6%.

Other mayoral races

Tuttle: With 72.3% of the vote, Aaron McLeroy handily won his reelection campaign for Tuttle mayor against challenger Judy Preston.

Perkins: Carla Fuss-Cummings will be the new mayor of Perkins, receiving 59.5% of the vote to Sara Rebelo's 40.5%. Fuss-Cummings will replace current Perkins Mayor Jason Shilling, whose term expires this year.

School board races

Across Oklahoma, voters went to the polls to select candidates for school boards in runoff elections.

School boards have become the nexus of culture clashes amid Critical Race Theory, masking and book ban debates. Because of this, those races often featured a moderate candidate against a more conservative one.

In Edmond, voters went for the moderates. They picked incumbent Marcus Jones over Michael Grande, who had been a vocal critic of masking and other COVID-19 mitigation measures.

They also selected Courtney Hobgood — endorsed by OKC Mayor David Holt — over Cheryl Williams, who has appeared in a number of viral videos calling on her would-be colleagues to resign.

In Jenks, school board President Terry Keeling defended his seat from challenger Ashley Cross, who has expressed concern about “oversexualization” in schools, a common complaint among people pushing classroom content restrictions.

A more conservative candidate did pull off at least one victory in Tulsa, where Republican E’Lena Ashley unseated incumbent Democrat Shawna Keller.

Bond propositions

Norman says ‘no’ on water improvements

By a vote of 54.6% against and 43.4% for, Norman voters turned down a proposition to fund the city’s water infrastructure replacements and improvements. The $33 million proposition would have included a new water metering system, groundwater treatment and disinfection and pipe replacement. Norman has not had a water rate increase since 2015. More information can be found here.

A new fire station will be built in Stillwater

Stillwater citizens will get a new fire station, after voters passed a 20-year, $9 million dollar bond on Tuesday, with 84.5 percent of the vote. The bond proposal is part of the city’s T.I.M.E. (Together Investing in Municipal Excellence) projects. The general obligation bond will be funded by property taxes. The new fire station will be built on Western Road, north of McElroy Road, on land owned by Oklahoma State University. More information about the bond can be found here.

Both Blanchard Public School bonds fail

Blanchard citizens voted down both bond propositions, totaling more than $36 million dollars, put before them on Tuesday. The first proposition failed, with 61 percent voting against. It would have paid for the construction of a fieldhouse for the football and soccer teams, construction of new baseball and softball fields and purchase of a new heat and air system for the intermediate school. The second proposition also failed, with nearly 55 percent voting no. It would have funded the replacement of current school buses.

Bristow rejects change in local government, but approves amending mayor’s duties in city charter

Voters in Bristow voted down three propositions that would have changed the form of local government from a mayor-city council to a council-manager, but voted yes on one proposition that amended a section in the city’s charter that deals with the duties of the mayor. The vote was a slim margin on all four propositions, with Propositions 1 and 2 each failing by 12 votes, Proposition 3 failing by 10 votes and Proposition 4 passing by 49 votes. Proposition 4’s change will take effect on April 17, 2023. The text and local election results for all four propositions is on the state election board’s website here.

Catoosa approves funds to build new police and fire department headquarters

Catoosa voters approved a $20.5 million dollar bond on Tuesday, with 66.2 percent of the vote. The bond will fund the construction and furnishing of a new public safety complex for the local police and fire departments. The bond will expire in 2048 and be paid through property taxes. More information can be found here.

Owasso approves two school bonds 

Voters in Owasso passed two propositions, totaling nearly $84 million over five years. The first proposition will fund the construction of safe rooms at the 8th Grade Center and Hodson Elementary, the repair and replacement of roofs throughout the district, technology upgrades and more. The second proposition will fund additional school buses, activity buses and suburbans. Find more information here.


Additional election results can be found with the State Election Board.

Corrected: April 5, 2022 at 10:07 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story contained a misspelling of Larry Heikkila's last name.
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