All the dirt, news, culture and commentary for Oklahoma's second century.

Losing to Cornett, Shadid says he will continue to fight for transparency and diversity is this 'Big League City'

Liz Burleson / Red Dirt Report
Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid addresses supporters Tuesday night at his campaign watch party at the downtown Farmer's Market.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
Help support Red Dirt Report

OKLAHOMA CITY – There was a mix of emotions tonight at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Oklahoma City where the Ed Shadid campaign conceded that they had lost the mayoral race to incumbent Mick Cornett, receiving 33-percent of the vote.

“I can tell you tonight, I’m absolutely at peace,” Shadid said from the lectern. “I’ve given the city of Oklahoma City everything I have.”

“You can win  even in loss,” he said. “You can lose the battle but win the war. And that’s what’s happening. There is a movement growing in Oklahoma City. There is questioning and dialogue and deliberation and debate about how we transition into being a ‘Big League City.’ There are alternative views that need to be heard.”

Speaking from the heart, Shadid talked about how the process of running against a long-term mayor with widespread name recognition. He also talked about how important it is for a city like Oklahoma City to embrace its diversity.

“If we’re going to be a 21st century city, it’s absolutely unacceptable to have 13 African-Americans, seven Latinos and 20-percent women” on the city’s boards, trusts and commissions.

“That has to end,” he said. “And now that’s on everybody’s radar.”

Shadid said Cornett co-opted his campaign ideas, including the focus on neighborhoods, essentially suggesting that the mayor had no real ideas of his own and merely coasted to victory on name recognition and his connection to MAPS.

He hit upon addiction recovery issues he wants to highlight in Oklahoma City, and said the revelations about his past, “being stripped naked in front of the city,” was a price he was willing to pay to help take away some of the stigma of addiction recovery.

“Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” added Shadid.

Shadid said Cornett would have been “devastated” were he to have engaged in a real debate over the course of the campaign because of Cornett’s serious shortcomings that the local media simply refused to highlight.

Shadid promised his supporters that there would be a conversation about the convention center and convention-center hotel and the whole project because of the initiative petition that is going forward and has already garnered the 6,000 signatures that are needed.

Shadid hit upon the serious issue of income inequality in Oklahoma City and around the world and how it is a “threat to humanity.” 

And he noted that the system that is greedily holding on to power in this city is being exposed after many years of operating in the shadows.

“I believe this is, more than ever, an oligarchy,” he said, criticizing the current system that has managed to retain power in this city and state. “You have unknown persons spending hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars – this time they are called ‘OKC United,’ next time they are called something else – spending enormous sums of money trying to influence the populace.”

He talked about his conversation with Lee Slater of the Oklahoma Ethics Commission and how the commission has no jurisdiction over municipal elections and that as a result outside forces can run wild and never reveal who they are.

“This is a level of secrecy and manipulation that should not be tolerated,” he told the rapt audience. 

And highlighting the obvious control the ruling oligarchy in Oklahoma has on the media. Shadid singled out former Oklahoma Gazette political reporter Tim Farley (now writing for Red Dirt Report), to highlight the unprecedented levels of suppression that the Oklahoma City media has endured under Cornett's autocratic rule.

“Tim lost his job on Friday at the Gazette because, he was told, the questions he asked the candidates were inappropriate even though he had received approval from his editors," Shadid told the stunned audience.

Sitting in the audience was the Gazette’s chief editor, Jennifer Chancellor, who interrupted Shadid and stated that what Shadid was saying was not true but added that she could say no more.

“There’s two sides to every story,” retorted Shadid, adding, “I think that’s an important story and I think everybody needs to look at that.”

Continuing, Shadid said: “Somebody who asks questions loses their employment? What chilling effect does that send the rest of the media that … any individual could lose their livelihood? We deserve better than what we got during this election, during this campaign.”

It was clear that the media suppression and disdain the Cornett campaign had for members of the media who asked tough questions really troubled Shadid.

“What has happened here is absolutely unacceptable,” added Shadid, getting a round of applause from the crowd.

Shadid encouraged his supporters to look towards alternative media for their news, even giving a positive shout-out to Red Dirt Report.

“We need alternative sources in getting the information out there,” Shadid said.

Earlier, in talking to various people in the crowd, it was evident that they felt the Cornett brand was damaged, particularly when it was clear he would not have a debate with Shadid. Some said they felt that Cornett probably wouldn't even finish out his term. 

Back on stage, Shadid took time to thank his family and his campaign staff for all of their love, support and hard work.

Shadid concluded his concession speech by saying that this chapter may be over, but more chapters are to be written and that he and his supporters will no longer accept avoidance by Cornett and others of addressing issues of importance facing this city.

“We’re not going to accept the lack of diversity. We’re not going to accept the lack of transparency,” he said.

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About the Author

Andrew W. Griffin

Editor & Owner.

Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

read more

Enjoy this? Please share it!

About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

Member of the Oklahoma Press Association
Member of Investigative Reporters & Editors
Member of Diversity Business Association
Member of Uptown 23rd
Rotary Club of Bricktown OKC
Keep it Local OK