Despite being denied an invitation from Tulsa County Democratic Party leaders earlier in the week, mayoral hopeful Bill Christiansen attended the group's convention Saturday.
This is Tulsa's first nonpartisan mayoral election. Kathy Taylor spoke before the convention, asking for Democrats' votes.
"I'm supporting Kathy Taylor strongly, but I also have a strong support for openness and inclusion," said delegate Mike Workman. A few delegates reached out to the candidate to tell him the public is allowed to attend the convention.
Newly elected chair of the Democratic Party, Michael Whelan, said, "We found it inappropriate for a registered Republican running for public office to be actively campaigning at the Democratic Party Convention." However, he said he thought the day went very well and that the party remains focused on its tasks.
Former chair Judy Eason McIntyre was displeased with Christiansen's attendance.
"If he wants Democratic votes, like I told him, do it the old fashioned ways. Go knock on doors and ask for it," said McIntyre.
Christiansen came with a small group of supporters and sat quietly in the back of the room, wearing a campaign shirt.
"Several people have come up and talked to me, yes, and shook my hand, and said they're glad I'm here," said Christiansen. He said he attended the event because he wants to be a mayor for all people in Tulsa, regardless of political party.
Channel 8 also asked Mayor Dewey Bartlett what he thought about Christiansen's attendance at the Democratic Convention.
"Well, it's just drama," said Bartlett. "I mean that's just unnecessary. I'm a Republican. I'm proud to be a Republican. I don't have to act like I'm something else." He celebrated the opening of his campaign office on Harvard Saturday afternoon.
Kathy Taylor declined to comment on Christiansen's attendance and to interview with Channel 8. She said she is trying to save her voice.
The filing period for the mayoral election begins Monday. The primary is June 11th.
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