Carol and Sandra

From left, Sandra Wilkes visited with Oklahoma City mayoral candidate Carol Hefner at a recent banquet hosted by the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee.

Oklahoma City – Incumbent Mayor David Holt and his consultant, a fellow with a great first name (Pat, as in McFerron) have consistently projected confidence about securing a second four-year term in the February 8 election.
In initial analysis this reporter deemed Holt “well-positioned” for reelection.
However, by the time that same report went online, these words were added: “Barring unforeseen circumstances.”
And then came Carol -- as in Hefner. She is also well-positioned, at least to make the election interesting.
A businesswoman and active Republican leader, she has among other posts been Fundraising Chair for the state Republican Party and was Governor Kevin Stitt’s Inaugural Coordinator in 2019, after his underdog victory in the 2018 GOP primary season and November general election.
The mayor has hundreds of announced supporters, but Hefner is steadily garnering her share of notable backers, including Republican legislators such as Senator Shane Jett and Representative Denise Crosswhite Hader.
Canadian County Commissioner Marc Hader jumped in for Hefner, as did General Rita Aragon (ret.), the former Commander of the Oklahoma National Guard. Aragon puts a familiar face and voice on Hefner’s outreach to the sisterhood of women leaders in the state.
Just before Christmas, U.S. Navy (retired) Rear Admiral Greg Slavonic announced his support for Hefner. Also backing Hefner’s candidacy are these groups: Oklahomans For Health & Parental Rights, the Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee (OCPAC).
Another notable Hefner supporter is Canadian County Sheriff Chris West, whose jurisdiction includes parts of Oklahoma City.
The most notable recent endorsement for the challenger came this week, when the Oklahoma County Republican Party endorsed Hefner for mayor.
In an interview with The Oklahoma City Sentinel, county chairman Ken Warner said,
“The bottom line is the Executive Committee felt Carol was the best choice. We voted, and she easily was the winner.”
He said members of the local GOP leadership “have nothing against” a local conservative attorney who is also challenging Mayor Holt. That candidate has raised little money.
Warner said, “Our goal is to get [David] Holt defeated. I don’t think he’s a Republican. I don’t believe in mandates. I have nothing against him in particular, other than his policies. We Republicans want to follow the Constitution to the letter of the law.”
(A fourth candidate seeking the job is Jimmy Lawson, a well-known community activist considered politically liberal or “Progressive”. Lawson garnered widespread awareness around the city, state and nation for his efforts in support of Julius Jones, his lifelong friend, whose death sentence for a 1999 murder was recently commuted to life without possibility of parole.)
Herner’s original announcement statement included hints the sprint to election day could turn contentious: "It’s time for a real conservative. That’s why I’m running for Mayor. Our city deserves bold and dynamic leadership with an emphasis on traditional American values that have built our stability. People look to us from the liberal cities and want what we have. We don’t need a liberal progressive trying to change our Oklahoma culture."
Billboards with candidate Hefner’s visage and message have multiplied across the city, and her radio advertisements began encouraging support in recent days. She’s had several fundraising events she describes as successful.
The Tuesday, February 8 “general election” is technically a primary.
If any candidate does not reach 50 per cent support, a runoff will be held April 5.
The odds seem against her, but Carol Hefner’s stated goal is this: She’s in it, to win it.
NOTE: This is updated from a story that first appeared in the January 2022 print edition of The Oklahoma City Sentinel.

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