Seeing a former colleague and friend Jeff Griffith running for Sheriff of Pott. County made me remember when another friend talked me into running for Mayor of Wagoner. Yes, I know, what? Why? Plenty of reasons, none good now, upon reflection over 20 years later. But It did give memories of the journey.
I was recently retired, and had been appointed to the city council. I accepted because I was not extremely happy with some of the zoning actions that had lately got my attention. You know, in for a penny, in for a pound.
I filed along with another city councilman who owned a downtown grocery store that served the poorer residents, because he would allow them to charge all month and settle up after the welfare checks arrived. There was another person (word used loosely). She was referred to by the Tulsa World as a perennial candidate. She had fired for Corporation Commission, US Senate, US House and Governor at least 4 times. She was a dental technician in Coweta, but lived in Wagoner. In previous campaigns, she wore a clown suit and she had her name changed to Virginia “Blue Jeans” something or the other, I have forgotten. There were at least 2-3 other candidates and the chamber of commerce hosted a “Debate”. Everyone showed up. I don’t remember if “Blue Jeans” wore her clown suit or not. We had a debate.
It seemed to me everyone attacked ole Terry. I tried to stick to my message about what needed to be done in the city. The other councilman and I did stick to the issues. Mostly. Ms. Blue Jeans immediately went after me. She said there was a lot of difference in running a city and running a black and white car up and down the highway. I offered as how running up and down the road was serious business, just like being mayor. Wearing a clown suit and making a fool of one’s self was not serious. She cried, well not cry but bawled like a baby. Her husband got out of his seat and shouted something about kicking. I had a microphone and explained how the only thing keeping him off the stage was fear and common sense.
That did not end the debate, but at least they all got off the attack Terry mode.
The other guy, who owned a grocery store, had precinct workers, who drove voters to the polls and they had a six pack of cheap beer, for every rider
My friend who talked me into running said he would take me around and point out different places/people who could swing several hundred votes. We drove down McQuarrie and he pointed out house and said that guy can get you around 20-25 votes. I said, darn, I arrested his wife about 15 years earlier for DWI and he was still mad. Ok, he said let us go on. He pointed another and said that guy is a banker and can swing a lot of votes. OK, yeah, I put his son in the penitentiary. The next one had worked a precinct for my old enemy the DA. We did this for an hour with the same results. My friend said, Damn, I didn’t know you worked that hard, this is going to be harder than I thought.
It was, I lost by about 50 votes. That was after I had walked every block and knocked on every door in town. EVERY HOUSE. It worked out just as good, we built a house on the lake outside the city limits about 4 months later and moved.
Anyway, Good Luck Jeff, you will make a fine Sheriff.