MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma – A 19-year-old first-year student at the University of Oklahoma was elected mayor Tuesday of Muskogee, a city of 38,000 in the northeastern part of the state.
With all precincts reporting, John Tyler Hammons won with 70 percent of the vote over former Mayor Hershel Ray McBride, said Muskogee County Election Board Secretary Bill Bull.
"The public placing their trust in me is the greatest, humbling and most awesome experience I've ever had in my life," said Hammons, who is from Muskogee but attends the university in Norman.
The two candidates squared off in a runoff election for the nonpartisan post after neither secured 50 percent of the vote in a six-person election April 1.
Hammons, who will be sworn in next week, said he plans to continue his college education but expects to transfer to a school closer to Muskogee.
"Being elected does not change my desire to continue my education," he said. "We will schedule our time in an appropriate fashion so that I can be mayor and stay in school."
Hammons replaces Wren Stratton, who decided not to seek re-election after one term.
The mayor leads the nine-member city council and serves as a voting member. Hammons said a key to his platform that resonated with voters was openness of government and keeping citizens better informed of city operations.
"I think that's been a detriment to the trust of the citizens of Muskogee," he said. "Once we have that trust, we can solve any other problem."