Norman mayoral runoff
Incumbent Norman Mayor Breea Clark and challenger Larry Heikkila are headed to a runoff election Tuesday, April 5, 2022. (NonDoc)

Incumbent Norman Mayor Breea Clark got more votes than any of her four opponents, but the city’s mayoral election will go into overtime after none of the candidates received more than 50 percent support today.

Clark finished with 36.46 percent, while Larry Heikkila picked up 32.01 percent. The two will now face each other in an April 5 runoff.

“Midway” Bob Thompson and Nicole Kish finished with 18.9 percent and 12.5 percent, respectively. Alice Stephenson-Lueck picked up 0.14 percent. A total of 22,712 Norman voters cast ballots in the race.

Clark’s attempt at reelection has been a long road. She survived a recall attempt in 2020 after a police funding controversy erupted over the redirection of a proposed funding increase for the department. That saga led to the formation of Unite Norman, a predominantly conservative organization initially aimed at recalling Clark and others on the council. The group’s recall effort of Clark fell short of the required signatures needed to trigger an election.

But for her reelection effort in 2022, Clark drew challengers from the right  — Heikkila and Kish — and the left, Midway Deli owner and former Councilman Bob Thompson, who drew his support from many of the same voters Clark captured in her first bid for mayor.

Clark said in an interview with the OU Daily that she would like to build more affordable housing and improve the city’s infrastructure, including Norman’s notoriously problematic storm water runoff problems. Efforts to address that problem failed in 2019. Accomplishments touted on Clark’s campaign website include coordinating the sharing of COVID-19 vaccine information and working with community members to decide the destination of reallocated funds.

Heikkila is a 26-year Navy veteran and former City of Norman employee. He ran on his experience both as a city employee, and he ran as a conservative. He earned endorsements from both the Norman police and fire unions.

Heikkila says on his website that he prayed for a “champion who could bring a mayoral change to Norman.” He says God directed him to write up his résumé and, afterward, “The Lord told me I was that champion.” On his website, Heikkila says current city leadership “caters to the homeless” and pursues the “agenda of the progressive elite.” He says wants to focus on the city’s infrastructure and on working to restore the public’s trust in city government in order to support the future economic development in the city.

Kish, who is an optometrist, earned an endorsement from Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. But Stitt’s approval did little to help her in Tuesday’s election as she finished fourth among the five-candidate field.

Full results from Tuesday’s election can be found by visiting the Oklahoma State Election Board website. All electoral results are unofficial until certified by the board.

Hobson, Grant to face off in Ward 4 runoff

Voters in Norman City Council Ward 4 will decide between Helen Grant and Gale Hobson in a runoff election Tuesday, April 5, 2022. (NonDoc)

Thanks to a crowded field the race for Norman’s Ward 4 city council seat will head to an Apr. 5 runoff after none of the four candidates for the open seat surpassed the 50 percent threshold Tuesday.

Helen Grant, who works at Oscillator Press in Norman, was the top vote getter finishing with 37.98 percent of the vote. Psychologist Gale Hobson finished second with 33.43 percent. They will face each other in the runoff.

Doane Harrison finished third with 17.90 percent while Teresa Borum got 10.69 percent.

Incumbent Lauren Schueler wins Ward 2

Norman Ward 6 voters reelected Councilwoman Lauren Schueler to another term. Schueler handily defeated challenger John Argo 59.16 percent to 40.84 percent Tuesday. Schueler, who works for the University of Oklahoma, was appointed to the City Council in May. Argo ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 6 seat twice before.

Incumbent Elizabeth Foreman wins Ward 6

Incumbent Elizabeth Foreman will serve another term as Norman’s Ward 6 City Council member after she held off a challenge from construction company owner and big-game hunting enthusiast Alexander Torvi. Foreman picked up 53.54 percent of the vote while Torvi earned 46.46. Foreman is the director of finance and accounting for the Oklahoma Primary Care Association.

Incumbent Matt Peacock squeaks out Ward 8

Incumbent Matt Peacock will serve another term as Norman’s Ward 8 councilman after he narrowly defeated challenger and pharmaceutical sales representative Scott Dixon on Tuesday by 148 votes. Peacock picked up 52.46 percent of the vote to 47.54 for Dixon. Peacock, who owns an architectural firm in Norman, became councilman for his ward in 2020.

Norman school board election goes to runoff

The Norman Public Schools Board of Education election will head to a runoff on April 5. Incumbent Dan Snell received about 33.53 precent of the vote during Tuesday’s election. Former district teacher Alex Ruggiers finished ahead of Snell, receiving about 45.91 percent of the vote.

Licensed cosmetologist and small business owner Chemise Stancle received about 20.56 percent of the vote.

Ruggiers is currently a curriculum developer for the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Public Management and taught sixth, seventh, ninth and 10th-grade English and language arts in the district for three years at both Norman High School and Longfellow Middle School. His platform points include using his experience as an educator in the district to cut wasteful spending, bring a modernized perspective to the school board and advocate for students, teachers and staff.

Snell, who has been on the school board since 1997, is a retired University of Oklahoma history professor, serves as the president of the Norman chapter of Parents Helping Parents, volunteers to read with students at Lincoln Elementary School and has served as a court appointed special advocate for children in foster care. In addition, Snell has made time for his work as a Mark Twain impersonator.

On his campaign website, Snell lists”safe and healthy learning” as an area of focus, says he has supported “flexibility” in Norman’s response to the coronavirus pandemic by “balancing CDC guidelines while obeying state law and believes the district should partner with OU, the career and technology center, small businesses and the chamber of commerce to keep students in Norman after graduation.