Norman police officer Tommie Johnson captured the Republican nomination for Oklahoma County sheriff today, beating incumbent Sheriff P.D. Taylor. Johnson will take on the Democratic candidate, Oklahoma City Police Department Lt. Wayland Cubit, in the Nov. 3 general election.
Johnson held a sizable lead throughout the night as results came in, and his matchup with Cubit will ultimately give Oklahoma County its first Black sheriff, according to a county website. The Oklahoma County sheriff also holds a seat on the controversial Oklahoma County Jail Trust.
At the time of this post’s publication, Johnson held a 6,000-vote advantage over Taylor, who has 49 years of experience in law enforcement. With more than 76 percent of precincts reporting, Johnson held more than 60 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results on the Oklahoma State Election Board.
Johnson, a political newcomer, forced a runoff by taking home 33 percent of the vote in the June 30 primary to the incumbent Taylor’s 43.3 percent. A third candidate, Mike McCully, won 18.71 percent and subsequently endorsed Johnson, who also scored an endorsement from former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating.
Johnson previously told NonDoc that he believed his newcomer status would be an asset.
“I think we need better leadership in a fresh perspective of what we are doing in Oklahoma County. I’m not so prideful that I would just go out willy nilly and start doing stuff,” Johnson said in July. “To accomplish the goals I want to accomplish, I would create a team around me. Because it’s not me that gets it done. It’s ‘we’ that gets it done. I just provide the plan, the vision — this is how we go.”
First elected in a 2017 special election, Taylor used his re-election campaign to continue focusing on patrolling unincorporated areas within the county. He planned on reinstating warrant teams, lowering response times on emergency calls and reviewing current operations to “fix what’s broken,” he said in a July NonDoc interview.
General election preview
Cubit, who won the Democratic nomination for Oklahoma County on June 30, is running his campaign on rebuilding the community’s trust in law enforcement. Cubit told NonDoc in July that he acknowledges the Republican candidates’ goals of increasing presence and taking care of warrants are legitimate, but he said the sheriff’s office needs to prioritize “physically responsible and transparent with the property and funds of taxpayers.”
Cubit is a 21-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department and has devoted the past 12 years of his career to creating and supporting programs that help at-risk-youth. Stated on his campaign site, Cubit’s platform is based on transparency, accountability, mental health and criminal justice reform.
Johnson previously said he believes trust starts by building partnerships and civic leaders, law enforcement partners, first-responders and mayors.
Johnson said law enforcement, especially in Oklahoma, is doing a good job of trying to get out into the communities, noting things like the OKC Citizens Advisory Board.
“That is that start of building that trust,” Johnson said. “It’s letting people in.”