AP NEWS

Dead Oklahoma mayor 2nd in primary, advances to next ballot

February 13, 2019
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FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2010, file photo, Charles Lamb, Mayor Pro Tem and Council Member for the city of Edmond, Okla., answers a question at a news conference in Oklahoma City. Lamb, the late mayor of the Oklahoma City suburb, who died in December, has advanced to the general election following a Facebook campaign supporting him. Lamb's name will be on the April 2nd general election ballot with former Mayor Dan O'Neil, after Lamb finished second to O'Neil in the three-person race Tuesday. If the late Lamb is elected, the City Council would appoint a mayor. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — Despite dying in December, the then-mayor of an Oklahoma City suburb has advanced to the general election following a Facebook campaign supporting him.

Former Edmond Mayor Charles Lamb’s name will be on the April 2nd general election ballot with former Mayor Dan O’Neil after Lamb finished second to O’Neil in complete, but unofficial results from the three-person race Tuesday .

“It’s sort of an awkward election,” O’Neil said Wednesday. “Mr. Lamb was a fixture in Edmond for a long time ... I will continue doing what he did,” O’Neil said.

If Lamb is elected, the City Council would appoint a mayor.

“There are people advocating for his election for their political reasons ... they want to be mayor,” according to O’Neil, who served one term as mayor from 2007-2009 before losing re-election to former Mayor Patrice Douglas.

The Facebook campaign was led by Michelle Schaefer of Edmond, who referred questions to Councilman Nick Massey, who Schaefer has said she hopes is appointed mayor.

Massey also called the situation awkward and said he would have run for mayor had Lamb not sought re-election, but that the filing period had closed when Lamb died. He said he would be “honored” to accept the appointment, but would not campaign for people to vote for Lamb in the general election.

“I think I prefer to sit back and let the citizens do what they think is right. I don’t expect to do any active campaigning,” Massey said. “If you like the direction the city has been taking over the last six, seven, eight years, you might consider voting for Charles and let the City Council decide who to appoint” to lead the city of nearly 92,000 .

When Lamb died it was too late to remove his name from the ballot or to add anyone else, according to city spokesman Casey Moore.

Although O’Neil received nearly 56 percent of the more than 6,200 votes cast, both he and Lamb, who received about 33 percent, will appear on the April ballot, which is not a runoff, but a general election, said Moore.

“Under the city charter, if there are more than two candidates for a seat then there’s a primary, and from the primary the top two vote-getters in that primary advance, regardless of (vote) totals,” Moore said.

Erik Lamb, the son of the late mayor, said he, his sister and his mother learned of the planned social media campaign and discussed it before it became public.

“We were approached by outside people who asked if they would have our blessing and we gave it to them to go ahead and continue,” Erik Lamb said.

Lamb said his family has not taken part in the campaign and has no plans to do so. He declined comment about O’Neil.