(Update: This article and its headline were updated at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, to reflect that Ed Moore withdrew his candidacy for Edmond mayor. After the City of Edmond announced on Dec. 13 that Rich Hess had withdrawn, NonDoc reported a separate story on the ramifications. The article below remains unchanged from Dec. 9.)
With the candidate filing period concluding this evening, Edmond’s 2023 election landscape is set. Incumbent Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis drew three challengers in his bid for reelection, but one withdrew before the end of the week. That leaves Rich Hess, the owner of an employee benefits consulting agency called Trilogy Alliance, and Brian Shellem, the president of Advanced Automotive Equipment, as the remaining opponents to Davis.
Meanwhile, businessman Tom Robins will face Ashley Bradley, a senior engineering technician at Gulfport Energy Corporation, for Edmond’s open Ward 1 City Council seat.
In the City Council Ward 2 race, longtime Edmond Planning Commission Chairman Barry Moore will compete against Judy Rau, who worked 19 years for the City of Oklahoma City.
For Edmond Public Schools, Dr. Jerry Childs is seeking the EPS District 3 seat, which has been held by incumbent Jamie Underwood since 2001. Underwood also filed for reelection.
Because the race for mayor will consist of three candidates, there will be a Feb. 14 primary election. Under Edmond’s electoral rules, however, even if one candidate earns a majority of the primary vote, the top two vote earners will compete in a runoff election on April 4 no matter what.
Because the open Ward 1 and Ward 2 City Council races and the EPS District 3 seat all drew only two candidates, each of those elections will be on the April 4 general election ballot. Edmond residents from all wards are allowed to vote in the municipality’s general elections.
Three challenge Darrell Davis for mayor
Davis, 63, was first elected mayor in May 2021 when he received about 62 percent of the city’s vote against homebuilder Nathan Walters. Prior to being elected mayor, Davis served nearly 10 years as Edmond’s Ward 3 councilman. He was first appointed to the Edmond City Council in November 2011 and was re-elected to four-year terms in May 2013 and May 2017.
In addition to owning Trilogy Alliance, Rich Hess, 54, also serves as a board member on the Force 50 Foundation, which aims to develop a communication and coordination plan linking all resources assisting Oklahoma veterans. Hess is also the vice president of Healthcare Highways.
Aside from Brian Shellem’s LinkedIn, he does not appear to maintain an online presence. Shellem, 48, was one of six parents who filed a lawsuit against Edmond Public Schools in September 2021 that sought and obtained a temporary injunction to prevent EPS from enforcing COVID-19 quarantining protocols.
Ed Moore, 78, filed to challenge Davis, but he withdrew his candidacy Friday, Dec. 9. Moore is an advisor on the board of the Edmond Neighborhood Alliance and an avid attendee of Edmond city meetings. During an EPS board meeting in April, Moore spoke during public comment on “raising teenagers and how that has changed.” During his allotted time, Ed Moore denounced communism and stated that “secular religion has snaked their way into schools, churches, government and corporate America.” Moore also recited lyrics from John Lennon’s song Imagine and played The Coasters’ song Yakety Yak from his phone.
Tom Robins and Ashley Bradley vie for Ward 1
In the Ward 1 race, Tom Robins, 42, is the founder and president of Solid Foundation Consulting and Oklahoma Innovation and Technology. Prior to founding Solid Foundation Consulting in 2018, Robins served as Oklahoma’s deputy secretary of energy from 2016 to 2018. He also worked as the manager of government affairs for Chesapeake Energy from April 2011 to October 2015.
Prior to working at Gulfport Energy Corporation, Ashley Bradley, 38, worked as an engineering technician from November 2014 to December 2018. She also worked numerous different positions at HighMount Exploration and Production, according to her LinkedIn.
Barry Moore v. Judy Rau in Ward 2
Barry Moore has been a member of the Edmond Planning Commission since June 2005, serving much of that time as chairman of the body. Moore’s professional career has revolved around the Oklahoma State Capitol. After working for the State Senate, Moore became a lobbyist and consultant for rural telecommunications companies in 1988.
Rau worked for Oklahoma City from 1996 to 2015, serving as a 911 dispatcher, a receptionist and administrative assistant for the chief of police. She also worked in the public safety project office following the passage of MAPS, among other positions. Rau also previously worked as the human resource manager for Titan Construction and as a flight attendant for United Airlines.
On her Facebook campaign account, Rau’s bio proclaims: “Keep east Edmond rural!”
Jamie Underwood v. Dr. Jerry Childs in EPS District 3
Underwood, 64, is seeking reelection to her EPS District 3 seat for the fifth time. She was first appointed to the seat in April 2001, after Kathy Panas, the previous District 3 board member, who is now Edmond’s director of finance, moved out of the district. Since her appointment to the board, Underwood has won elections to five-year terms in 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018.
Childs is a doctor of osteopathic medicine. For 30 years, Childs practiced emergency medicine in emergency rooms around the state. Childs then worked as the medical director of the Oklahoma County Jail for five years. Before retiring in January, Childs worked as a regional medical director for county jails across the country.
Oklahoma County clerk post draws a crowd
There is no shortage of candidates who want to run the Oklahoma County Clerk’s Office and collect its $122,000 salary and benefits in the process. The county clerk is responsible for maintaining records of a county, as well as setting agendas and recording the minutes and votes of county meetings.
Eight people — five Democrats and three Republicans — have filed to run in the special election to replace David Hooten, who resigned in June amid sexual harassment and other allegations from staff at the clerk’s office. At the time, Hooten made several bizarre claims that were captured in a recording while he was describing a proposed team-building exercise that would involve alcohol.
“Just so you all know, I’ve been genetically altered so I don’t get drunk no matter what,” Hooten said in the recording. “They gave me a chemical that changes your brain, because I travel in Europe, and so it actually won’t have an effect on me. But hopefully it has an effect on you all.”
Sean Cummings, Tiffany Ellis, Tom Guild, B.C. Phillips and Derrick Scobey have filed for the Democratic nomination.
Cummings, 59, currently serves as a member of The Village City Council while also operating an OKC-based bar and restaurant. He has advocated for criminal justice issues within the county.
Ellis, 42, works in communications for The Mettise Group in Oklahoma City.
Guild, 68, is making his eighth run for public office since 2010. Most recently Guild, who is a former law professor, ran for county treasurer earlier this year.
Phillips, 37, is making his first run for public office. He currently serves as the communications director for CASA in Oklahoma City. He has also served as Ward 6’s game and fish commissioner since 2019.
Republicans Gloria Banister, Jonathan Clour and Maressa Treat have filed to run for the Republican nomination for county clerk.
Banister, 52, owns an organic produce farm and I-44 Speedway in Oklahoma City. She ran unsuccessfully for House District 87 earlier this year.
Clour, 31, currently serves as the deputy Oklahoma County clerk. He is a minister who ran for the Oklahoma House of Representatives District 43 in 2014, losing in a runoff.
Treat, 40, is the director of development for GR Pro, a public affairs and strategic communication firm that sometimes does work for dark money political expenditure efforts in Oklahoma. Treat, who formerly worked for U.S. Sen. James Lankford, is married to Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat (R-OKC).
(Correction: This article was updated at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 8, to correct reference to Edmond electoral rules.)