Michael Nash
Michael Nash stands in an area of east Norman under development on Thursday, March 30, 2023. (Michael Duncan)

What goes around comes around in Ward 5 of the Norman City Council.

In what became a rematch of the 2021 race, east Norman voters narrowly chose Michael Nash over incumbent Ward 5 City Councilman Rarchar Tortorello today. Only 28 votes separated the two men with all precincts reporting. Nash received 984 votes, while Tortorello received 956.

Two years prior, it was Tortorello who was ousting Nash from the Ward 5 seat, to which Nash had been appointed following the prior officeholder’s resignation. But in Tortorello’s first attempt at reelection, he fell just shy in a race largely focused on development and turnpike concerns in east Norman.

“The entire area needs to stay rural. Not just for preservation of the settings of people’s homes, but to protect the watershed. Every drop of water that falls in Ward 5 goes into Lake Thunderbird,” Nash told NonDoc prior to the election. “What it comes down to is, which candidate do voters think will be most effective at stopping inappropriate development that’s high density — these big pushes to put high-density neighborhoods, commercial strips, through Ward 5? Who would be most effective at protecting our water supply?”

Nash said he had not planned to run again for his former City Council seat. His name was put on the ballot as a result of a citizen petition drive, a unique process provided for in the city’s charter.

The state’s online election results are unofficial until they are certified by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Price wins Norman Public Schools Board seat

With all precincts reporting, Annette Price beat Kathleen Kennedy for the Office No. 3 seat on the Norman Public Schools board Tuesday night, garnering 63.82 percent of the vote.

“It has been an honor to meet so many of my neighbors in northeast Norman and to learn what is important to them about our schools,” Price said in a statement Tuesday night. “Transparency, family engagement and accelerated learning are ideals we all share. I look forward to taking their priorities with me to the school board and using that voice to put kids first.”

Price has long been involved in public education, serving on various PTA boards and working in the communications department of the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Currently, Price works for the University of Oklahoma as a public relations and outreach coordinator in the National Weather Center.

Price’s win comes as Norman recently passed a pair of bond proposals totaling about $344 million.

Most school sites in Norman will see construction projects renovating or improving facilities as a result of the bonds’ passage. The big item in the bond proposals is a new stand-alone facility for an Oklahoma Aviation Academy at Max Westheimer Airport. The construction will help NPS develop a budding aviation program for students in the district.

Price discussed the importance of tonight’s election in the context of the district preparing to implement the bond proposals, calling for transparency with finances.

Price’s election means the NPS board will gain a member with prior experience working in the State Department of Education.

With new head of the department State Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters frequently decrying what he calls “porn” in school library books, Price reflected on NPS’ recent controversy as a flashpoint in that debate and said that book bans are “toxic” for education.

(Update: This article was updated at 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, to include a comment from Annette Price.)