Oklahoma County Sheriff
Wayland Cubit and Tommie Johnson will face off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, in a debate to lead the Oklahoma County sheriff's office. (NonDoc)

The 2020 race for Oklahoma County sheriff will result in the first Black sheriff to hold the office, regardless of who wins. But before either Democrat Wayland Cubit or Republican Tommie Johnson can claim that honor, the two candidates will face off in a debate hosted by NonDoc on Thursday, Oct. 22.

The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. at The Auditorium at The Douglass, 600 N. High Ave. in OKC. Tres Savage of NonDoc and Aaron Brilbeck of News 9 will moderate the debate, which will last about an hour.

NonDoc’s 2020 debate series is made possible through the support of financial sponsors, including the public advocacy firm McSpadden, Milner & Robinson and the State Chamber of Oklahoma. For this event, the League of Women Voters of Oklahoma is serving as a partner.

Limited in-person seating is available by emailing Angela Jones for a reservation, but the public is encouraged to view the live stream of the debate on or the News 9 Facebook page.

To be reminded of the online livestream, you can RSVP for the Facebook event page, but the Facebook event RSVP is not the same as the in-person seating reservation process noted above.

Those attending the event will have their temperature taken, will be required to wear a mask and must adhere to social distancing guidelines in seating.

Know the candidates

The Democratic candidate, Wayland Cubit, is a lieutenant in the Oklahoma City Police Department. He has worked in the department for 21 years and has spent the past 12 focused on creating and supporting programs that help at-risk-youth, according to his campaign website. His platform emphasizes criminal justice reform, improving mental health care, and rebuilding community trust in law enforcement.

Oklahoma City police officer Wayland Cubit, who is a candidate for Oklahoma County sheriff, speaks to one corner of the crowd during a Black Lives Matter rally in Oklahoma City on Sunday, May 31, 2020. (Michael Duncan)

“We have to have a leader who is focused on bringing the type of physical responsibility that people trust,” Cubit told NonDoc in July. “And actually want to give them the authority. We talk about community policing — we can’t do any of the other stuff like address social media technology, policy and oversight — all those things have to be done. But if they don’t trust us, why do we do them?”

The Republican in the race is Tommie Johnson, who unseated the incumbent Sheriff P.D. Taylor in the Aug. 25 Republican primary runoff, winning with 60.22 percent of the vote.

Johnson, who is currently an officer in the Norman Police Department, has been in law enforcement for nearly a decade. His platform is based on fiscal responsibility, community partnerships and promoting community safety through police presence.

Oklahoma County Sheriff
Norman police officer Tommie Johnson is a rookie to politics but said his leadership capabilities matter. (Provided)

“Let’s patrol the areas that we are responsible for and let’s provide a presence for the areas that we are responsible for,” Johnson said. “The jail is not an issue. Now we can worry about keeping communities safe. That’s something I can accomplish, and that’s something we can do day one. Police presence deters crime, stops crime — it’s the number one thing effective in crime prevention.”

About Oklahoma County

In Oklahoma County, the sheriff’s office is responsible for patrolling the county’s rural areas and for various judicial services. Oklahoma County is the most populated county in in the state and includes the municipalities of Oklahoma City, Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Jones, Spencer and more.