TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Incumbent Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum won re-election to a second term in office Tuesday, holding off a challenge from a young, Black community organizer and six other candidates to secure another four-year term in office.
The 43-year-old Bynum earned a reputation as a moderate who used data to drive decision making, but he found himself under attack from both the right and left in the city of about 420,000.
Several members of the city’s Black community criticized Bynum for not taking more steps to oversee policing and for failing to stop President Donald Trump from holding a rally there in June. Meanwhile, critics on the right assailed him for imposing a mask mandate and closing businesses early in the pandemic.
Bynum relied on his record of recruiting foundation money for health and education projects in the city’s Black community and spearheading a $640 million tax package for community improvements. He also boasted of more than $1 billion in private investment in the city during his first term.
Bynum, who previously served two terms on the city council before defeating a fellow Republican incumbent in 2016, also enjoyed a hefty financial advantage in the race, reporting more than $600,000 in contributions, and the endorsement of many organizations, including the Tulsa World, the local newspaper.
Greg Robinson launched a last-minute campaign for mayor. He grew up on the city’s predominantly Black north side and had criticized Bynum for not doing more to improve race relations in a city with a long history of racial tension.
Tulsa has become increasingly more associated with a 1921 rampage in which white residents there razed the city’s thriving black business community, killing as many as 300 people.