Brian Maughan
Incumbent Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan speaks during a debate hosted by NonDoc on Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (Pablo Angulo)

Incumbent Republican Brian Maughan has been re-elected to the Oklahoma County Board of Commissioners representing District 2, which covers roughly the southern third of the county.

“I feel like the voters renewed our contract for another four years by agreeing with our leadership and direction of Oklahoma County,” Maughan said in a statement to NonDoc. “Both sides of the issues were put out several times throughout this campaign. I am very grateful to the voters for placing their trust in me again. I am humbled by their support and excited to continue working for them.”

Hicks led absentee and early voting, but Maughan drew a commanding advantage in Election Day returns. With more than 96 percent of precincts reporting, Maughan held more than 57 percent of the vote. Election results are not official until they are certified by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties has a three-member Board of County Commissioners, which makes determinations about aspects of county government including the county jail and the paving and maintenance of rural roads. Oklahoma County’s other two commissioners currently are Republican Kevin Calvey and Democrat Carrie Blumert.

Background on Brian Maughan, Spencer Hicks

Maughan, 43, was first elected to serve Oklahoma County’s District 2 in 2008. In 2012, he faced only a Republican challenger — Gordon Jeney — whom he defeated handily. In 2016, Maughan was automatically re-elected when nobody filed to run against him.

That was not the case in 2020. Hicks, a former aide to Gov. Brad Henry and a popular local comedian, announced his campaign against Maughan in October 2019. Hicks, 40, is married to Sen. Carri Hicks (D-OKC), a former teacher who is a popular voice for educators at the State Capitol.

Maughan and Hicks faced off in a public debate sponsored by NonDoc and streamed online by News 9 on Thursday, Oct. 8. During the debate, the pair clashed over the county jail, CARES Act money and the county’s SHINE program. Maughan started the SHINE program — Start Helping Impacted Neighborhoods Everywhere — to assist with community beautification and cleanup projects. SHINE uses student and corporate volunteers as well as jail-diversion labor to complete projects.

In recent weeks, Maughan has faced criticism from Hicks and other community members about two issues concerning the Oklahoma County Jail: dedication of CARES Act federal money and the presence of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

During the NonDoc debate, Maughan and Hicks disagreed about the future of the Oklahoma County Jail. Hicks said he supports the construction of a new jail, even though it would be costly and would require a dedicated funding stream through some sort of new tax assessment.

Maughan disagreed with the viability of passing a new tax.

“Routinely, the chamber has polled this issue, and it’s around 83 percent who are against the tax,” Maughan said. “Sheriff (John) Whetsel, who was a Democrat, testified before the county commission when the jail committee recommended a $300 million jail, he said do not give me this facility unless you give me a permanent tax to go along with it. We can’t talk about a permanent tax, it’s just not going to pass. There is no political will for a forever tax for a jail.”

Other Oklahoma County incumbents prevail

While it looked for a time as if incumbent Oklahoma County Clerk David Hooten and incumbent Oklahoma County Court Clerk Rick Warren might be unseated by their Democratic challengers, heavy Election Day returns that favored Republicans in Oklahoma County pulled both men across the finish line.

Hooten fended off Christina Chicoraske, and Warren defeated Charles de Coune. All election results are unofficial until finalized by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

(Update: This article was updated at 10:50 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3, to include comment from Maughan.)