The 2014 Oklahoma City mayoral race between the popular incumbent Mayor Cornett and challenger Councilman Ed Shadid is still in its early stages, but observers are noting that Shadid’s campaign continues to follow an unprecedented playbook for Oklahoma politics. And by unprecedented we mean bizarre and unorthodox.
The Okie previously reported Shadid’s “unique” views as a Green Party candidate for the Oklahoma House in 2010, and Shadid’s lengthy online attack on incumbent Mayor Cornett the day after Cornett announced his re-election campaign.
Shadid’s unorthodox choices since Cornett’s announcement have left many political observers wondering whether a candidate with Shadid’s ideological profile can possibly win such a prominent office in such a conservative state.
Soon after Shadid’s kick-off rally on August 15th, The McCarville Report published an in-depth examination of the rally, calling it “perhaps the most left-of-center political event in Oklahoma City mayoral history.”
Since that time, Shadid has continued the pattern.
On September 1st, an Oklahoma atheist leader who describes himself on Twitter as the co-host of the “Oklahoma Atheists Godcast” revealed that Shadid is actively and personally courting the atheist vote.
On September 10th, in a story in The City Sentinel headlined “Ed Shadid has new ideas for city revenue and spending,” Shadid came out in support of using property tax for municipal operations, which would result in a massive property tax increase.
And this past weekend, Shadid Tweeted a photo of himself with a group of children wearing t-shirts that said “penis” or “vagina”.
Says one longtime Oklahoma politico of Shadid’s campaign so far, “It’s as if Shadid thinks he’s running for mayor of Berkeley. Promoting himself as the candidate for atheists and advocating property tax increases are things that I would normally consider political suicide. I have never seen a supposedly credible candidate break so many rules of Oklahoma politics.”
According to his own leaked campaign memo Shadid intends to spend $750,000 to $1.5 million on his campaign, a sum far beyond that which was spent in Oklahoma City’s last contested mayoral campaign in 2004. The credibility that comes with Shadid’s self-funding may have been among the factors that recently led the Oklahoma City police union to endorse him. But many political observers wonder whether Shadid’s unorthodox messages can find a broader audience in Oklahoma’s largest city.
OKC’s urban core may be changing, but has it changed enough for the unorthodox playbook of Ed Shadid? The Okie will continue to monitor the race…