(Editor’s Note: On this primary election day in Oklahoma, search your name here to see what — if anything — is on the ballot where you are registered to vote. Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
If you live in Tulsa County and have been following the sheriff’s race, you’ve probably run out of popcorn.
Since December 2015, that county’s sheriff office has seen enough drama and turmoil to fill three seasons’ worth of binge-worthy television. But what began with the killing of an unarmed suspect at the hands of an ill-trained volunteer reserve deputy has now devolved into the petty mudslinging and tattle-telling one might expect from less visible candidates in smaller municipalities.
Sunday, Republican candidate for Tulsa County Sheriff Luke Sherman‘s campaign emailed media the above video and other footage, claiming to show Vic Regalado‘s campaign manager — Aaron Brewer — blocking Sherman’s yard signs with other signs from different campaigns. According to the press release accompanying the emailed footage, a Sherman volunteer installed a surveillance camera “out of his frustration from seeing Sherman signs defaced across Tulsa County.”
Also Sunday, the Sherman campaign uploaded its own compilation video of sign vandalism that, if nothing else, illustrates the power of music and subtitles in creating an emotional effect. The conservative Tulsa blog Batesline appears to be the only site that has published about the sign saga, and its proprietor — Michael Bates — picked Sherman in his GOP primary endorsements two days earlier.
Regalado under scrutiny for months
Cries of dirty pool on the campaign trail are just the latest of many corruption-related accusations and transparency-related criticisms that Regalado has faced during his short time in office.
For those outside Tulsa County, the following timeline could be useful:
November 2015 – Longtime Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz resigns amid misdemeanor charges filed during the investigation of volunteer reserve sheriff’s deputy Robert Bates, who shot an unarmed and restrained suspect during an illegal sting operation.
December 2015 – In the wake of Glanz’s resignation, 11 candidates file to run in a special election.
Feb. 27 – The Tulsa World reports that a quarter ($42,050) of Regalado’s campaign fundraising came from employees of a Rogers County business based out of the Port of Catoosa. The Frontier examines those 12 employees and uncovers that one has felony convictions and four are not even registered to vote.
March 1 – Regalado wins Republican primary in the special election to fill the remainder of former Sheriff Stanley Glanz’s unexpired term. Regalado receives 40.5 percent of the GOP vote, while Sherman finishes second with 16.1 percent.
March 8 – Tulsa County Democratic Party holds a press conference to announce they filed an ethics complaint with the Attorney General’s office regarding Regalado’s questionable donations; Regalado crashes that press conference to “defend his donors”:
April 5 – Regalado defeats Democrat Rex Berry in the special general election 62 percent to 38 percent.
June 13 – An anonymous source with the AG’s office tells the Tulsa World that it is “handling” the complaint regarding potential straw donors as well as exceeding maximum contributions allowed among Regalado’s campaign contributors.
June 22 – Regalado’s opponent in the regular election cycle, fellow Republican Luke Sherman, agrees to modify an attack ad against Regalado after the Tulsa World accused the campaign of misrepresenting their reportage in the ad’s language. Later the same day, Regalado’s campaign Facebook page posts a damning attack ad against Sherman. (Sherman had been suspended without pay in 2009 as the acting supervisor for a Tulsa Police Department barbecue that ended with an officer totaling his police car.)
Sunday – Surveillance video surfaces claiming Regalado’s campaign manager has been sabotaging Sherman’s campaign signs throughout Tulsa.
Time to vote … again
Today, Tulsa County residents will vote in the primary for this sheriff election. Regalado and Sherman are joined by a man named Russell Crow from Owasso on the Republican ticket.
Democrats and independents will pick between Arthur Jackson and Rex Berry, the TPD veteran and Middle East security consultant who lost to Regalado in the special general election April 5.
So even if you missed the first few seasons of this reality-based ballot battle, there’s still time to judge all of these actors (candidates?) for yourself and cast your vote today.
(Oh yeah. There’s also a mayoral election in Tulsa, but who’s paying attention?)