By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
After a rigorous campaign launched last August by Ward 2 City Councilman Dr. Ed Shadid, he joined about 200 supporters, including fellow City Councilman (Ward 7) John Pettis at his mayoral watch party held at the Farmers Public Market. The evening ended with a heartfelt concession speech, recognizing the incumbent mayor’s victory.
After all 235 precincts reported, incumbent Mick Cornett had 31,495 votes, or 65.7 percent, to 15,739, or 32.8 percent for Shadid. Two other candidates, Phil Hughes and Joe B. Sarge Nelson, together drew 1.5 percent of the vote.
Just before 9 p.m. election night, Shadid moved through the room hugging and shaking hands with supporters. At the podium he said, “I can tell you tonight, I am absolutely at peace. I gave the City of Oklahoma City everything I have in this chapter. We’re just getting started.”
“What I wanted my children to know is that you can win, even in loss. You can lose the battle and win the war,” Shadid said. “There is questioning and dialogue, deliberation and debate starting about how we transition to be a big league city. There are alternative views that need to be heard.”
As for the hard work, “For me personally, my life has been transformed over the last year. The people that I’ve met, the parts of the city that I’ve seen, and the relationships that will last from here going forward are priceless. They’ve added so much meaning to my life. I can’t express my gratitude enough.”
Shadid’s campaign raised awareness about issues of addiction and recovery: “I wanted some things so badly, I wanted the addiction recovery movement to grab hold of Oklahoma City. I want that shame and stigma attacked and to be ultimately defeated.”
Looking ahead, “We will now begin to do what’s necessary, which is political advocacy. That’s the only way that we’re going to induce change.”
Shadid listed problems like domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse of children, record amounts of opiate prescription abuse, and expenditure of $500 million a year incarcerating people, as reasons to have more open discussions.
During the campaign, Shadid unsuccessfully challenged the newly re-elected Cornett to debate: “Over the last few months you’ve heard my opponent talk about neighborhoods and now we’re going to hold his feet to the fire.”
Shadid noted that women and ethnic minority groups are seldom appointed and compared to their percentage of population hold few city positions.
Shadid says the initiatives he started will be another victory for citizens.
“We’re going to have a conversation this year about the convention center and the convention center hotel because of the initiative petition process. The initiative petition process allows a referendum – a vote of the people. It’s no longer just 5 votes of the city council.”
Shadid continued, “Basically, what this process to me boils down to is when you have a small group of people who concentrate power, resources and material goods, that concentration of power and resources into fewer and fewer hands is a threat.” Shadid called that oligarchy, a word he has been criticized for using. He pointed out that the state Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction over city elections: “In an oligarchy, or a good old boy network, it’s important to those wielding influence to not be known.”
Shadid acknowledged his family, his parents, and brothers, growing emotional as he spoke of his former wife and their three children: “Dina and the kids have been with me at all the steps and that is absolutely a gift of recovery.”
Shadid promised to reflect on the campaign and said he had made some mistakes. “The failures and mistakes really will make us stronger and better as we go forward.”
He acknowledged his campaign team, inviting them to join him on stage.
Shadid said he would be taking some time with family and reflect on the election: “This is just the end of a chapter. We’re not going to accept the lack of discussion and dialogue. We’re not going to accept the lack of diversity, nor the lack of transparency and media suppression.”
Thanking supporters, Shadid continued, “I couldn’t begin to say how much I love the people you see in this room and I’m just so grateful for you. The relationships will continue and we will translate that into change and making this city healthier and happier. We lost the battle today, but we start again in the morning.”