Last year, Norman Ward 5 City Councilwoman Sereta Wilson was subject to an attempted recall effort and eventually resigned. The City Council appointed Michael Nash in her place, who now faces three other candidates six months later in the Feb. 9 municipal election.
Nash is attempting to hold onto the city’s largest ward seat against challenges from Billy Davison, Lisa Meyer and Rarchar S. Tortorello.
Nash was appointed by a committee to fill the seat for Wilson after her resignation in August while petitions were being collected by Unite Norman, a group formed after the Norman City Council’s decision to redirect more than $850,000 of a planned increase for the Norman Police Department budget to other city services. Unite Norman circulated petitions to recall three other council members and Norman Mayor Breea Clark. Ultimately, none were successful.
The candidates for Norman Ward 5 are listed below in alphabetical order, with information derived from publicly available sources. Election Day is set for Tuesday, Feb. 9.
If no candidate receives a majority of the Norman Ward 5 vote, a municipal runoff election will be held April 6 between the two candidates who received the highest number of votes.
The Little Axe Chamber of Commerce recently held a Zoom discussion with Norman Ward 5 candidates.
Profession/background: According to Davison’s campaign Facebook page, he owned and operated his construction company, BILCO Construction, until 2015. In 2017, he became a licensed private investigator and created Davison Investigations, which also provides bail enforcement services.
Platform: Davison told The Norman Transcript that he was disappointed with the representation Ward 5 has had in the last few years. If he is elected, he would focus on improving transportation from the rural areas of Ward 5 to the inner city.
Profession/background: Meyer told The Norman Transcript she has spent her career working in banking and financial management. She also said she volunteered as the administrator for the Central Oklahoma Christian Homeschoolers in Norman. In a June 2020 Republican primary, Meyer lost a close race for Cleveland County clerk by 87 votes to Tammy Belinson.
Platform: Meyer told the Transcript that Ward 5 needs investments in public safety as well in neighborhoods. She said she would work to return transparency, accountability and willingness to “work together for the betterment of Norman.” Meyer has been endorsed by Cleveland County Commissioner Darry Stacy and Cleveland County Sheriff Chris Amason according to a mailer on Facebook.
Profession/background: Nash was selected by a committee comprised of Ward 5 residents to replace Sereta Wilson after she resigned in July. His application for the position is viewable here, and his selection received immediate criticism from the controversial group Unite Norman. Nash serves on the Finance Committee, the Community Planning and Transportation Committee and the Business and Community Affairs Committee.
Platform: In a Q&A with The Norman Transcript, Nash said he believes police response times in Ward 5 have become a problem. If he is elected to a full term, he said he would work with the Norman chief of police to find cost-efficient and time-efficient ways to improve public safety in east Norman. He also told the Transcript that he wants the residents of Ward 5 to re-establish confidence in local government.
Rarchar S. Tortorello
Profession/background: In a Unite Norman YouTube video, Tortorello said he retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2007. He was awarded the Airman’s Medal for heroism involving voluntary risk of life while deployed in Saudi Arabia, his campaign website says.
Platform: On his campaign website, Tortorello says he was inspired to run through his work with Unite Norman. He told The Norman Transcript that he’s running for better transparency, accessibility and to listen to his constituents. If elected, he plans to fight against the redrawing of ward lines, which he claimed would result in “diluting our votes, especially in regards to any future stormwater proposal,” Tortorello said to The Transcript.