A survey of the precincts in the June 28 city primary shows that Mayor-elect G.T. Bynum won most of the districts with heavy Democrat registration.
That’s not surprising considering his liberal stance on social issues and his backing from liberal former mayors and moderates.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett was all for the change to “nonpartisan” municipal elections when it was placed in front of the voting public. Late in this year’s primary campaign, Bartlett said he “forgot” that he supported the switch and that he wanted to change back to elections with party affiliations.
Maybe he saw what was about to happen.
Had Bartlett faced Bynum in a Republican primary, a case could be made that he would have won. That’s because Bartlett got scant Democrat support, which mostly went to Bynum.
Under the nonpartisan rules, a moderate Republican (Bynum) beat another Republican primarily through the support of liberal Democrats.
Is that really what conservative Tulsa voters want?
There were other factors in the race. On the advice of his consultants, Bartlett waged a negative TV campaign that backfired. Bynum focused on public education (even though a mayor has virtually no impact on education) and that resonated.
Bartlett came across as an angry old man while Bynum was perceived as someone in tune with the progressive youth. Policy wise, there is little difference between the two.
Liberals and progressives love nonpartisan races because it’s easier to fool the people. Most of Tulsa’s city councilors are progressives even though they are registered Republicans.
Bynum is in and Bartlett is out. Very little will change in the power structure of Tulsa.