MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Election 2008

May 14, 2008

Youth trumps experience: 19-year-old wins mayoral race

Voters catapulted John Tyler Hammons into the mayoral seat on the Muskogee nine-member City Council.

Hammons, who will be sworn in Tuesday, beat Hershel McBride in the mayoral race by a nearly 40 percent margin. Hammons racked up 3,703 votes, or 69.62 percent, to McBride’s 1,616, or 30.38 percent.

Hammons’ strongest support came from the southeast quadrant of the city, in Ward II, where his margin of victory was 1,484-370, a 3-1 margin. But he also turned out on top in the other three City Council wards by smaller margins.

McBride, who was running on his record as a successful businessman, longtime city councilor and three-term mayor, said he was surprised by the margin of Hammons’ victory.

“I kind of thought I had turned it around toward the end there,” McBride said of the more than three-month campaign. “But I’m not bitter — I’m kind of disappointed. It was good race, a clean race.”

Hammons, who was invited Tuesday night to appear on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno after his landslide victory, said he plans to hit the ground running.

“Because of the support of the voters, we have accomplished the impossible,” Hammons said. “With their continued support we will continue to accomplish the impossible. Muskogee is on the rise — nothing can stop us now.”

Hammons, an at-large delegate to the Republican National Convention, said he is dedicating the next two years of his life to pushing for an open and honest city government that is “more user friendly,” press for economic development and growth, and promote the general welfare and safety of Muskogee’s citizens.

Hammons, who will succeed Mayor Wren Stratton, said he is committed to his earlier promises to listen to the concerns of his opponents in the mayoral race and draw from the counsel and wisdom of his predecessors and peers.

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