Darrell Davis, Brian Shellem
After two other opponents withdrew their candidacies, Edmond Mayor Darrell Davis will face challenger Brian Shellem in Edmond's April 4, 2023, election. (NonDoc)

After a Friday morning meeting at Neighborhood Jam between Brian Shellem, Rich Hess and Ed Moore — who each filed candidacy for the Edmond mayoral position last week — Hess and Moore decided to withdraw from the race and support Shellem’s campaign to challenge incumbent Mayor Darrell Davis.

Hess, 54, and Moore, 78, both withdrew Friday, according to releases from the Oklahoma County Election Board.

“We said, ‘Hey, we’ll support whoever is going to be the best candidate, who has the most potential for the most positive change for Edmond,” Shellem said.

Shellem, 48, is the president of Advanced Automotive Equipment. He 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.

Shellem said that he, Hess and Moore all have similar goals surrounding the growth and trajectory of Edmond, and so the trio decided their best chance to achieve those goals would be to combine their ideas.

“We all seem to agree that the greatest chance for that opportunity is for us to coalesce around the goals,” Shellem said. “I was willing to support the best candidate, and, you know, I guess I got drawn to to be the guy who’s going to carry on.”

As both Moore and Hess have withdrawn their candidacies, Edmond will have no municipal primary election in February, as the race for mayor, both City Council seats and the Edmond Public Schools’ District 3 seat all consist of two candidates. Each race will be decided on the April 4, 2023, ballot.

Asked whether having one opponent and one election as opposed to three opponents and two elections changes his campaign strategy, Davis said he remains focused on connecting with voters.

“Two years ago, I ran for mayor because I love Edmond. I serve every day as mayor because I love Edmond and I’m running for re-election to continue the work we started. Nothing has changed. My ‘strategy’ is to continue enthusiastically serving the citizens of Edmond. Whether I have one opponent or three doesn’t concern me,” Davis said. “I’m simply concerned with continuing the work we have started, striving everyday to make our city better, and earning the support of my neighbors. I always appreciate vigorous discussion and debate as we strive to improve Edmond.”

Aside from the mayoral race between Davis and Shellem, the other Edmond races slated for the April ballot are:

  • Tom Robins v. Ashley Bradley for City Council Ward 1
  • Barry Moore v. Judy Rau for City Council Ward 2
  • Jamie Underwood v. Jerry Childs for EPS District 3.

Darrell Davis v. Brian Shellem in April election

Edmond mayor
The Edmond City Council chambers are located at 20 S. Littler Ave. in Edmond, Oklahoma. (Joe Tomlinson)

While Shellem said he is excited about Edmond’s growth, he believes the city is currently “misprioritizing” its direction.

“We need better roads, bridges, infrastructure, schools, all those things, and we’re prioritizing some building projects,” Shellem said. “I’m for pro-growth, pro-building, but we need to help funnel the growth and the direction it needs to go in the city.”

Shellem said that the fact he, Hess and Moore were willing to meet and work together shows what can be done at the municipal level.

“I think that’s the benefit. If we can, as a city and all our elected officials, try to meet and work together, I think we’re going to get a lot more done,” Shellem said. “And to hear the people, I think some people feel like the mayor doesn’t want to hear the people.”

Pointing to his lack of a social media presence, Shellem said he does not try to be in the “limelight,” but that things are going to change.

“We want to definitely get our name out there, and we want to make our platform known to the citizens of Edmond,” Shellem said. “We believe that the citizens have a voice and that voice needs to be heard. I just don’t think Darrell Davis is doing a good job of listening to the constituency.”

Davis disagreed with Shellem’s assessment and said he hopes the voters will continue to put their trust in him, as they did two years ago.

“I am honored to be the mayor of Edmond. I am blessed to have spent the last two years working with so many wonderful people to achieve some great results. What makes Edmond exceptional is the people across our city who work together to make Edmond a better place to live and raise a family,” Davis said. “While we have much to be proud of, I believe there is still work to do. I am looking forward to the campaign and I hope the voters of Edmond continue to put their trust in me to listen to their concerns and fight for great solutions.”