Sometimes, Tahlequah city elections come and go without too much hoopla. But we’re hearing through the grapevine that some interesting races could materialize in a month or so, when candidate filing begins.
On the slate this year will be city clerk, street commissioner, police chief, city treasurer, and city councilors for Wards 1 and 2. In other words, everyone except Mayor Jason Nichols, Ward 3 City Councilor Maurice Turney and Ward 4 City Councilor Linda Spyres will be facing re-election; their positions will be up for grabs next in 2015.
The filing period opens Monday, Dec. 10 at 8 a.m., and closes Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. in the clerk’s office at City Hall, on Cherokee Street between Keetoowah and Delaware. A $200 filing fee will be assessed, and candidates will square off Feb. 12, 2013, with an April 2 runoff, if necessary.
The filing period’s more than six weeks away, for anyone thinking about tossing his or her hat into the ring. But it’s not too early for us to remind potential candidates of the best way to spotlight their campaigns.
It’s our job to get the word out on who’s running. That we will do every day during the filing period, with a recap at the end. But a candidate who wants the most attention from Press readers can do so through a submitted candidate announcement and photo.
Every local-level candidate is entitled to prime space on the front page, one time only. Many candidates like to get off the blocks early, so we’re now accepting those announcements. If you are mulling a run for city office, please take note of our policies, so there are no misunderstandings later – and pass the word along to other would-be candidates you know.
Over the years, certain candidates have tried to delay making their announcements until after the filing period closes, hoping we’ll publish it closer to the election. To prevent this sort of posturing, we’re asking that candidates have their announcements into our office by the end of the last filing day, if they want them on the front page.
Candidates who turn in their announcements before the filing period begins may request a specific date for publication. We will honor this, provided no other candidate has spoken for that edition, as we only run one per day to give each person individual exposure.
Some candidates have complained this deadline doesn’t allow them ample time, but we’re confident anyone running for office knows he’ll be doing so by the last day of filing. Nevertheless, we will accept late announcements until 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, but those will not appear on the front page. It’s important to note that if a person has announced his or her candidacy in another publication or media website, it is “old news,” and therefore has no place on the front page, which is generally reserved for “breaking” news.
Announcements should be typed, with a facial photo of the candidate, and dropped by our office at 106 W. Second, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or mailed to City Election, P.O. Box 888, Tahlequah, OK 74465. Better yet, email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copy your text from your word program and paste it into your email field for best results, but you should attach a jpeg (.JPG) photo set at about 180 dpi. If you email, call our copy editor, Kolby Paxton, at (918) 456-8833, ext. 20, to make sure we received it. You may also talk to Kolby (or Managing Editor Kim Poindexter) about placement requests. We do not promise a publication date until we have the announcement in hand.
Candidates should include biographical information, such as family and employment history, education, organizational memberships, awards, and qualifications for office. We reserve the right to edit for clarity, grammar, potentially libelous content and to meet space limitations.
Under no circumstances will a member of the Press staff compile a candidate’s announcement; it must be presented to us in the form of a press release.
Folks who are serious about serving the public should also know advertising pays off. Those who advertise in newspapers, even in modest amounts, fare better at the polls than their counterparts who do no advertising. There’s plenty of time to get the word out. Call our advertising manager, Pam Hutson, at extension 17, and she’ll set you up with an account executive.